Unsequestration: What’s In the Obama Budget Proposal

April 12, 2013

Depending on who you talk to, America’s unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and pensions of government employees add up to $86.8 trillion, $100 trillion or even $120 trillion.

But whatever number you use, the $120 billion trim to Social Security proposed by President Obama this week in his $3.77 trillion FY 2014 budget is “like trying to stop a runaway train with a fly swatter.”  The funds would be saved using “chained CPI,” which is just a different way of computing cost of living adjustments.

Even this meaningless toe dip into entitlement reform has drawn a chorus of moans and groans from Democrats in Congress, as well as opposition from Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

That’s just great, because now, rather than attack the President for his ridiculous proposal, the press can load up on Congressman Walden.

Now that his chained CPI has been portrayed in the press as a concession to Republicans, the President must be thinking, “Mission accomplished.”  He knows his budget has no chance of passage, but he can say that he’s attempted entitlement reform and the Republicans wouldn’t buy in.  Of course, if the Republicans did accept chained CPI, they would be portrayed as wanting to cut seniors’ benefits.

Restoring Sequestration Cuts

The real story behind the proposed budget is not the President’s meaningless gesture toward entitlement reform, but his attempted restoration of the sequestration cuts.

The President, who has not had a budget approved by Congress in four years and who has been running deficits of $1.3 trillion to $1.4 trillion during that entire period, just cannot bear to cut a penny from the bloated federal budget (unless it comes from the military budget, of course).  This year, even after pulling America’s military out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the projected deficit is $900 billion and it’s projected to climb significantly next year, when ObamaCare kicks in.

Sequestration cuts accounted for just 1.2% of the budget, yet the President reacted as though it was the end of the world as we know it.  Border patrol agents were furloughed, aircraft carriers were docked, Air Force combat squadrons were grounded, and, of course, White House tours were canceled.

Yet President Obama is not only trying to restore the modest cuts of sequestration, he is also proposed new spending on government classics such as high-speed rail, public pre-school and, of course, job training, because the 87 existing job training programs just aren’t enough.

What Deficit Reduction?

While press focused on Congressman Walden’s comment that chained CPI will have an impact on the seniors that the Obama Administration allegedly cares so much about, the Congressman pointed out many other things about the Obama budget that have not received nearly as much press attention:

  • The proposed budget includes $1.1 trillion in new taxes.  That’s on top of the $1 trillion in taxes included in ObamaCare and the $600 billion in tax hikes on the middle class included in the recent fiscal cliff agreement.
  • President Obama claimed his new budget would reduce the debt by $1.8 trillion over 10 years.  Congressman Walden said the Obama budget would instead produce $8.2 trillion in new debt.

So which is it?  Would the President’s budget reduce the federal debt or increase spending?  Based on his record, there should be little doubt what the answer is.

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