An irresponsible budget plan

An irresponsible budget plan

February 16th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

President Barack Obama has proposed a $3.73 trillion budget which, even if its extremely unrealistic economic assumptions pan out, would add $7 trillion to our $14 trillion national debt over the next decade. And we already face a record $1.65 trillion deficit this fiscal year - the worst since we had to borrow to finance our victory in World War II!

We do not expect the president and Congress to balance the budget all of a sudden. But when we are in a financial hole, with the economic dirt caving in around us, shouldn't we at least avoid digging deeper still?

Do you want our debt to grow to $16.7 trillion by Sept. 30, 2012, as the Obama plan projects. Remember: We pay hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes annually just to cover interest on the debt. That's spending taken out of the job-creating private sector.

Obama proposes cutting deficits - over 10 years, long after he will be out of office - by only $1.1 trillion. And he mostly ignores massive spending on Social Security and Medicare. What's just as troubling is that his budget unrealistically assumes there will be far faster economic growth than either the Congressional Budget Office or private forecasters predict.

The president proposes spending more for education (which constitutionally is not a federal job), biomedical research, energy efficiency, high-speed rail and other "good" things. But it all would be irresponsibly financed by more red ink.

Obama, to his credit, would reduce or halt spending for more than 200 programs, saving $33 billion in 2012. He would reduce some spending on higher education grants and the military, and some projects for public health and water treatment. But an added $7 trillion in debt over the next 10 years proves that is not nearly enough economizing in this time of economic stagnation and unemployment.

A writer for the Internet magazine Slate.com put it starkly: "[L]et's cut [the budget plan] down to a useful, human, household size. Next year, the government plans to take in $2.63 trillion - and to spend $3.73 trillion. For our purposes, let's use $60,000 as the government's income and $85,000 as its expenses."

That, of course, is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Not everything Obama wants will become law. Congress has the actual spending authority.

Will Congress assert the responsibility that Obama has abdicated? The American people should insist on it.