It is official. President Barack Obama has no intention of cutting a nickel from the federal budget, now, or ever. In a Virginia campaign rally, er… speech, yesterday Obama told his audience that he will not accept an offer from congressional Republicans to give him more authority to decide which departments and accounts get cut and which don’t when sequestration takes effect on Friday. (As an aside, the Wall Street Journal has pointed out that the President already has broad authority to prioritize spending within “budget accounts” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323884304578328211144987052.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_AboveLEFTTop) In rejecting the offer, Obama said that there is “no smart way to cut such a large chunk from the budget over just seven months.”
“You don’t want to choose between, ‘let’s see, do I close funding for the disabled kid or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one?’ You can’t gloss over the pain and the impact it’s going to have on the economy.”
Of course he doesn’t mention the choice between “closing funding for the disabled kid”, or eliminating the General Accounting Office regional conference in Las Vegas, and between “closing this Navy shipyard”, or closing the Sensitivity Training Office of the Undersecretary for Title IX Administration at the Department of Education. Mr. Obama loves his straw men.
He also doesn’t mention that he has been more than happy to “gloss over” an equivalent to sequestration, an actual 2% cut to household budgets that all working American families took when the payroll tax holiday expired on January 1st.
Apparently, to this president, it’s a ho-hummer when private citizens, who have already seen their net household income shrink by $2-3,000 during his first term http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/fact-check-income-losses-under-obama/ take a 2% budget cut, but it is the making of a nationwide catastrophe when federal departments, which have seen discretionary spending increases of 7% after inflation during the last four years, have to take 2% reductions from budgets already inflated by automatic baseline increases.
Any competent business manager can squeeze 2% out of a budget. To claim, as Obama does, that even if given complete discretion in the matter, he cannot possibly find 2% to cut out of a $3.6 trillion budget, loaded with pork, corporate agricultural subsidies, green energy grants, and boasting a civilian workforce with pay and benefits averaging $123,000 apiece http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-08-10-1Afedpay10_ST_N.htm , strains the bonds of credulity.
The bottom line is that Obama doesn’t want the authority to determine where to cut because he doesn’t want to cut. He wants more government. In Obama’s view, the problem with American isn’t that we have an out of control federal leviathan spending too much money, but that we don’t have the ability to raise the kind of revenue he will need to give us a full-fledged European socialist welfare state.
His talk of dealing with sequestration by closing tax loopholes for “corporate jet owners” and other boogeymen is just a sop to low-information voters. The real game, as admitted by the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/22/opinion/why-taxes-have-to-go-up.html?_r=0, is to achieve massive middle class tax increases, so as to allow for all the envisioned new spending. He can’t get there while Republicans control the House, so the entire focus of the administration is on making Nancy Pelosi Speaker in 2014. If that happens, you will start to hear less about corporate jet owners, and more about those evil people next door, who make $75,000 a year, and aren’t paying their “fair share”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.