Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Honesty Deficit

The President has won his tax rate hikes on the Needlessly Rich, so now in the second round of deficit-reduction he turns to...additional tax increases on the Needlessly Rich.

Why no budget-cutting? In a recent interview, President explains: "...if you look at my track record over the last two years, I cut spending by over a trillion dollars in 2011."

Really? Let's take a look at the numbers, courtesy of the President's own 2013 budget proposal. Here is the record of federal spending, from 2009 (the last Bush budget) through 2012. In parentheses are the increases over the previous year. In brackets are the changes to the Consumer Price Indices relative to the previous year:
  • 2009    $3.518T
  • 2010    $3.456T (-1.8%) {1.6%}
  • 2011    $3.603T (4.2%)  {3.2%}
  • 2012    $3.795T (5.3%)  {2.4%}
Note that Obama's proposed budgets for 2010-2012 were $3.552T, $3.834T, and $3.729T, respectively. Unless the President had in mind an even larger increase for 2011, no such cut can be found. The only year-over-year reduction in spending occurred in 2010; this was caused by the end of TARP. Also note that although his proposed 2012 budget was $105B smaller than his 2011 proposal, what was ultimately enacted in 2011 and 2012 were increasing bigger budgets. Federal spending has increased for the last two years, at a rate greater than inflation as measured by the CPI.

Apologists Defenders of the President (e.g. Jared Bernstein) claim that analyses like that depicted above are overly simplistic: "personal finances and government finances are different". How, pray tell? Isn't what really matters is how much you ultimately spend, not what you fantasized spending only to settle for not-so-much more?

The White House is implanting the "already a trillion dollars cut" lie-meme throughout the media now, and every Presidential Parrot repeats it.

This is a moment in history when one needs to dispense with pleasantries to underscore the gravity of the issue and the inadequacy of the leadership: Mr. Obama, you did not cut a trillion dollars from future budgets. Stop spreading this lie, get serious about reducing spending and reforming entitlements. Grow up, sir.

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