How can Barack Obama demonstrate his fiscal-responsibility creds after pushing through Porkulus, a pork-filled omnibus spending plan, and a $3.5 trillion budget that far outstrips even the last spending plan from the Democratic-controlled Congress? Demand a big reduction in spending through budget cuts at federal agencies. Obama has done just that — with cuts that amount to a whopping 0.0029% of the budget Obama just pushed Congress to provide him:
President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official.
The budget cuts, while they would account to a minuscule portion of federal spending, are intended to signal the president’s determination to cut spending and reform government, the official said.
Obama’s order comes as he is under increasing pressure to show momentum toward his goal of eventually reducing the federal deficit, even as he goes about increasing spending in the short run to prop up the economy and support his priorities.
Earlier this month, both chambers of Congress passed Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, which includes unprecedented new investments in health care, education and energy. But the huge budget, which contemplates a $1.2 trillion deficit, has drawn the ire of small-government conservatives who say that the deficits jeopardize the nation’s economic future.
Obama apparently wants to answer the Tea Parties by showing that he’s capable of limiting the growth of government, but $100 million barely registers in Washington these days — and certainly does nothing to slow down the Obama spending juggernaut. Compare this pittance to some of the other numbers that Obama has produced:
- $100 million from a $3.5 trillion budget for FY2010: 0.0029%
- $100 million from the $1.2 trillion White House deficit projection for their FY2010 budget: 0.008%
- $100 million from the $700 billion Porkulus stimulus bill Obama demanded: 0.013%
- $100 million from the $634 billion “down payment” on nationalized health care: 0.016%
- $100 million from the $555 billion omnibus spending plan completing the 2009 budget: 0.018%
- $100 million from the $13 billion in pork from the omnibus spending plan: 0.77%
The cuts that Obama proposes don’t even amount to 1% of the pork Obama signed into law last month in the omnibus spending bill. It’s the equivalent of having Mr. Creosote from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life ask for a Diet Coke instead of the wafer-thin mint at the end of his meal (definitely Not Safe for Work):
This is an insult to the intelligence of fiscal conservatives. If Obama wanted to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility, he could enforce the George Bush executive order instructing federal agencies to ignore pork line items in their budgets. Better yet, he could have honored his campaign promise by vetoing the pork-filled omnibus spending bill, let alone refrained from leaping into the discredited statist spending policies that have been the hallmark of his administration thus far.
Update: Greg Mankiw has an even better perspective on the ludicrous nature of this effort, via AllahPundit’s Twitter feed. Pass me the soy-milk latté and I’ll forget about the Cadillac-sized budget hole …
Update II: Francis Cianfrocca (via Ben Domenech) answers the really pressing question: How much is this in A-Rods?