It is obvious that the federal government spends too much. The $14.7 trillion national debt is high on the list of Americans' concerns in various opinion polls.
President Barack Obama, however, thinks the problem is that Washington doesn't tax and spend enough. He says he wants to tax more and spend more to boost the economy and start reducing the high unemployment that his previous "stimulus" failed to solve. Meanwhile, he offers uncertain promises of spending cuts.
In addition to the big new stimulus plan he recently proposed, Obama is offering a 10-year plan for $3 trillion in supposed deficit reductions. Here are some of the specifics:
* He would raise taxes $800 billion by ending tax relief for higher-income households (some of which represent job-providing small businesses).
* He would raise an additional $700 billion in taxes by limiting charitable and other deductions for people earning more than $250,000, and raising taxes on oil and gas producers. That would mean less money being donated to charity and higher gas prices for consumers.
* He would -- eventually -- cut Medicare spending $248 billion and cut Medicaid spending $72 billion, as well as reduce farm subsidies and reduce benefits for federal employees. Those changes, if kept in place by future lawmakers and presidents, would reduce deficits $580 billion.
* And he seeks $1 trillion worth of cuts in Afghanistan and Iraq -- though those reductions have been previously accounted for and thus are not "new" cuts. In short, the deficit reductions the president proposes would be far smaller than $3 trillion.
It is appalling that the president is seeking massive tax hikes amid minimal and uncertain spending cuts, especially when he is separately seeking a new $447 billion "stimulus."
We are in a time of severe economic crisis, yet there is no indication that the president is willing to offer proposals with any realistic hoping of turning things around.