Wasteful spending, phony cuts in Obama's $3.8 trillion budget

Wasteful spending, phony cuts in Obama's $3.8 trillion budget

February 15th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

If you want an idea of how absurd President Barack Obama's $3.8 trillion budget request for 2013 is, consider the fact that he actually wants to increase funding for the U.S. Department of Energy.

You may recall that billions of tax dollars flowed through the Energy Department to failed "green energy" projects such as bankrupt California solar panel maker Solyndra.

CBS News reported this year that it found 12 "green" companies that got billions from Washington "then declared bankruptcy or are suffering other serious financial issues."

Beacon Power, one such company, was deemed by Standard & Poor's credit rating agency to have a 70 percent chance of failing. Yet that didn't stop the administration from giving Beacon tens of millions of dollars -- after which the company went under.

It was also via the Energy Department that the Obama administration halted the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. Taxpayers had pumped billions of dollars into Yucca Mountain so that it could accommodate spent nuclear fuel from around the country. But to please Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and environmentalists, the administration ended the project, and another huge investment by the Energy Department was lost.

Does that seem like an agency on which the president should want to spend more money for "clean-energy development"?

Not surprisingly, the $4 trillion in deficit reduction supposedly sought in the budget proposal would come "over 10 years." So even if Congress approves the president's plan, a future Congress could readily restore the money -- and more.

At any rate, the "reductions" are dubious. The president claims huge savings from winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- but those "savings" largely represent money that was not going to be spent anyway. That's an accounting gimmick.

And private economists are challenging the president's reliance in his budget figures on rosy projections of 3 percent economic growth this year and next. They say that is far higher than growth is actually likely to be.

Meanwhile, a series of destructive tax increases would be imposed on "the rich," on banks, and on the oil, gas and coal companies that meet most of our nation's energy needs. Do you want to pay more to heat your home and fill your gas tank?

And the president's plan gives scant attention to reforming Medicare and other programs that are the key drivers of rising debt.

Finally, the president wants well over $100 billion in new "stimulus" spending -- a big part of it to hire more government workers -- despite the 2009 stimulus' failure to produce the projected jobs.

The president's chief of staff, Jacob Lew, openly rejected talk of real spending cuts.

"[T]he time for austerity is not today," he said on a Sunday talk show.

We disagree, and so does U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

"An honest analysis of the president's budget virtually eliminates the White House's claims of deficit reduction when you remove the spending cuts previously enacted in law, alleged savings from money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that was never going to be spent, and nearly $2 trillion in new taxes," Corker stated in a news release.

Noting that our national debt -- $15.3 trillion -- is now as big as our entire economy, he added: "This budget makes a mockery of the American people. If a Republican or Democratic governor of Tennessee proposed a budget like this one, they would be run out of the state."

The president should start anew and offer a budget that relies on slashing wasteful and unconstitutional spending, not on growth-destroying tax increases and "stimulus."