GOP budget leaders: The president’s fourth straight budget flop underscores need for reform

posted at 2:30 pm on February 13, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The many gimmicks in the president’s fourth and final budget of his first term indicate how easily the budget process can be abused — and underscore the need for reform of the process itself, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions said on a conference call this morning.

The two GOP budget leaders say the president’s budget reduces the deficit by at most a measly $273 billion rather than by $4 trillion, as the administration claims — and it’s dishonest accounting that enables the president to conceal the truth. The president essentially repeals, for example, the $1.2 trillion sequester (spending reduction plus interest savings) negotiated in the Budget Control Act this summer — and doesn’t score the elimination of the cuts at all. In like fashion, he assumes cuts to Medicare providers won’t actually happen, but that Congress will continually pass the so-called “doc fix” to ensure providers receive pay increases. Here’s the catch: He doesn’t even so much as hint at how to pay for the fix. He also counts the inevitable winding down of the war costs in Afghanistan — all of which is borrowed — as $1 trillion in spending reduction. The Senate Budget Committee breaks it down:

Deficit Effect of the President’s Fiscal Plan

(2012–2022, in trillions of dollars)

President’s Math

Honest Math

-1.551

-1.551

Tax Increases

1.195

Eliminate BCA Fallback Sequester

-0.848

Savings from Ending War

-0.646

-0.646

Savings from Other Programs

0.354

0.354

New Stimulus Spending

0.125

0.125

New Surface Transportation Spending

0.438

Freeze Medicare Physician Payments

-0.407

-0.188

Interest Savings from Lower Debt

-2.973

-0.273

Total

The president — like presidents before him — is able to claim nearly $3 trillion in reduction that he hasn’t actually proposed because the budget process today relies on the discipline and honor of politicians and does nothing to actually enforce honest budgeting. Ryan and Sessions have a plan to change that — a series of budget reforms that would put teeth in the law.

In the House, Ryan said, Republicans have already passed four of ten budget reform bills. In the Senate, Sessions continues to champion the Honest Budget Act to eliminate accounting tricks. Pollster Frank Luntz once called that bill “legislative perfection.”

Unfortunately, these reforms have so far gone nowhere — and, in the meantime, the lack of a more enforceable proces doesn’t excuse the president — or, perhaps more importantly, the Senate — from following the process that is in place now.

“We think we should improve the binding nature of the budgeting process, but that’s no reason not to follow the process we have now,” Ryan said. “The process works if it’s applied.”

The Senate, of course, hasn’t applied the process, refusing to pass a budget in more than 1,000 days. The president’s answer is to suggest his budget does what it doesn’t. Excuse me for the black-and-white language, but I’d say that’s called “lying.”

“Is it acceptable for the president of the United States to mislead the American people as he’s now done again?” Sessions asked today. “Isn’t it incumbent upon the chief executive officer like our governors and mayors all over America to honestly tell their constituents the seriousness of the issues they face and to honestly lay out a plan to get us out of it? I’m just baffled by this and really think we’re placing the nation at risk. We can lay out a plan that would avoid this crisis.”

Fortunately, the president’s budget — like his budget last year — is highly unlikely to pass. Unfortunately, that means we still await action by our leaders to forestall what Simpson-Bowles called the most predictable economic crisis in history.

“We have a debt crisis on our horizon,” Ryan reminds us. “For the fourth year in a row, he’s decided to do nothing about it and he’s actually created a budget to make it much, much worse.”

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No worries…the Tea Party freshmen of 2010 will definitely be taking the lead on this as they have on everything else.

inthemiddle on February 13, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Don’t worry, Paul, I’m sure Mitt Romney or Santorum will do that bold leadership you keep saying we need. They’re both very capable of explaining these issues to the public. The rest of the party doesn’t wish anyone else would jump in.

cpaulus on February 13, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Anybody else experiencing formating issues with the table?

WisRich on February 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Anybody else experiencing formating issues with the table?

WisRich on February 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

I don’t know_______________________________________what you’re talking about.

Doughboy on February 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Here’s the catch: He doesn’t even so much as hint at how to pay for the fix.

Obama: I got my debt-limit increase, so we’ll just borrow away. Besides, if the GOP would just give me my tax increases on the filthy, evil rich, problem solved.

Bitter Clinger on February 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

He also counts the inevitable winding down of the war costs in Afghanistan — all of which is borrowed — as $1 trillion in spending reduction

Are you sure this is accurate or not just political posturing?

Even though you’re right that the winding down of foreign wars it not a true spending cut, why is the associated reduction in spending not fair game when calculating the size of the budget deficit? Does’t lower spending, regardless of the reason, need to be included when estimating future deficits?

bayam on February 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Fortunately, the president’s budget — like his budget last year — is highly unlikely to pass. Unfortunately, that means we still await action by our leaders to forestall what Simpson-Bowles called the most predictable economic crisis in history.

Really unfortunately, Obama has still managed to spend billions on all his pals at the UAW, big banks, bogus “green” companies that go bankrupt just after the last govt. check clears, lightsquared, etc. It boggles my mind that we still spend into debt without any sort of budget.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Even though you’re right that the winding down of foreign wars it not a true spending cut, why is the associated reduction in spending not fair game when calculating the size of the budget deficit? Does’t lower spending, regardless of the reason, need to be included when estimating future deficits?

bayam on February 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Because you have to pay soldiers’ salaries and equipment upkeep anyway, even if they’re stationed inland. Most of the savings would come from ending the “nation building” idiocy, and they are nowhere as large as Zero wants us to believe.

Archivarix on February 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM

This would make a pretty good campaign ad against Obowma and the Democrats…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on February 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM

To demonstrate how worthless Obama’s budget is, GOP leaders should put it in a brown paper bag along with a pile of dog crap, light them both on fire, put the whole mess on the doorstep of the White House and ring the door bell.

NoDonkey on February 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I for one can’t believe that Obama would lie about anything.

search4truth on February 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I’m sure Obama’s mendacious media minions will be exposing his budgetary charade to the public immediately. /s

talkingpoints on February 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Lalala
We can’t hear you
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Even though you’re right that the winding down of foreign wars it not a true spending cut, why is the associated reduction in spending not fair game when calculating the size of the budget deficit? Does’t lower spending, regardless of the reason, need to be included when estimating future deficits?

bayam on February 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

There are just a few things really that the feds have to worry about…having an armed military is one of them.
So you would think you need to first analysis the items that the feds should not, or have not been given the authority to be involved in.
Education is one
Most of the entitlements are another
It’s really pretty simple, it’s all laid in a a document, I would give you the name but if you see it in print, it would burn your eyes…

right2bright on February 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Does’t lower spending, regardless of the reason, need to be included when estimating future deficits?

bayam on February 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

It’s not lower spending, bright eyes. The whole budget farce last summer was a gimmick. They didn’t lower spending at all. Not one dime. In some optimistic projections, they reduced the rate of spending increases. But actual spending increased. Spending increases are not cuts or lower spending.

talkingpoints on February 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

BUT….of course the gop leadership in the House and Senate will complain, gripe, moan, whine about it and then…..

………CAVE, like they always do.

Maybe we’ll get a little boo-hoo from Speaker Boehner and the rest of the completely castrated gop team.

W-O-R-T-H-L-E-S-S !

PappyD61 on February 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

budget flop underscores need for reform

And we can start by getting rid of spineless RINOs

davidk on February 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Simpson-Bowles.
No Senate Budget in over 1,000 days.
Super-duper Committee.
Media=deaf-dumb and blind.
2010 election!
1 trillion dollars more!
No cutting..just spending.
Nothing’s happening.
There a problem or something?

KOOLAID2 on February 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

The president — like presidents before him — is able to claim nearly $3 trillion in reduction that he hasn’t actually proposed because the budget process today relies on the discipline and honor of politicians and does nothing to actually enforce honest budgeting.

First those damned “Founding Fathers” and now “discipline and honor”?

Trifles never get in barry’s way.

Tim_CA on February 13, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Lalala
We can’t hear you
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

hilarious.

Tim_CA on February 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

The U.S. Constitution is racist

/s

Roy Rogers on February 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Little Bammie went to grade school in a nutty Indonesian school, and finished in a Proggie basket-weaving high school in Hawaii. We don’t know that he has ever learned the most basic mathematics.

slickwillie2001 on February 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

These guys definitely think outside of the box.

Gene Sperling, director of the White House’s national economic council, said today at an official meeting that “we need a global minimum tax”

Yeah. This ought to solve the problem of welfare queens as everybody is reduced to a serf.

J_Crater on February 13, 2012 at 3:22 PM

“the budget flop underscores the need for reform.”

Who the he’ll talks like this?

This budget doesn’t underscore the need for “reform”, it underscores the need for public stocks in front of the DNC headquarters and fruit sellers offering rotten apples at a nickel a piece. If we are talking about reforms like these, I’m all in.

MTF on February 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Barry wasn’t good at math in school. Only thing he learned was that if you don’t pass a budget, you can hide a whole bunch of RED INK.

GarandFan on February 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

A chicken in EVERY pot, and an IUD…

WryTrvllr on February 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

GAG Rule: Government Accounting Gimmickry. They have been doing it long before I was born. This is how Clinton got his surplus and Newt was able to say he ‘balanced the budget’.

Through the GAG rule. Lies all of it lies and we need it stopped.

uhangtight on February 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

GOP budget leaders: The president’s fourth straight budget flop underscores need for reform a new leader

tommer74 on February 13, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Anybody else experiencing formating issues with the table?

WisRich on February 13, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Yeah, me too. But it’s Obama’s math so it doesn’t really matter much.

tommer74 on February 13, 2012 at 5:04 PM

This ought to make things interesting …

“The Treasury Department is now contemplating the prospect of invoking “extraordinary measures” to keep the government funded through November. Barring a major economic shock — a financial meltdown in Europe, for instance — the emergency measures should be enough to get the federal government past the election. But even under a rosy scenario, the next Congress will be forced to raise the debt ceiling as one of its first orders of business in 2013, if the lame duck outgoing body doesn’t do it.”

J_Crater on February 13, 2012 at 5:21 PM

We need a simple line in the sand statement from House Republicans:

It has been three years since this Country has had a budget. The White House and Democratic members of he Senate are happily spending money without bothering to plan. In part, we in the House have enabled them. We have allowed temporary spending to continue in the vain hope that President Obama and the stonewalling Democrats in the Senate would come to their senses.

But no more. It is clear from past actions and this proposed budget that the WH and their like-minded Senate enablers are prepared to drive this country into ruin. The solution is not hard. We need a budget that is honest and disciplined. One that will move us to live within our means. We cannot say just what the is at the moment. We need help balancing priorities and the WH and Senate need to be part of the process even if they are willing to just let things grow worse and worse.

We have tried providing a budget resolution so that we could work together on solving the problem but they ignored it and claimed we were the ones ‘obstructing things. So, in order to make sure that this issue is treated with the seriousness in requires: Henceforth, NO APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATION WILL COME OUT OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES until such time as a budget with honest and measurable goals is in place.

We understand that this is a line in the sand and that it may come down to the threat of shutting down the Federal Government. But we cannot have a Federal Government that is willing to spend spend spend without limit or reason and refuses to bear the burden of justifying its actions.

We hope that by making clear our position on this, that having NO FEDERAL spending is better than our current insane levels of spending and that together we can come to a solution, the other participants in our Government will finally step up and do the job they were elected to do.

Cordially,

OBQuiet on February 13, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Ryan & Sessions may have a plan, but everyone knows that the GOP’s plans & agendas are EXTREME, so there’s no sense reporting on what those guys propose. /s

KS Rex on February 13, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Even though you’re right that the winding down of foreign wars it not a true spending cut, why is the associated reduction in spending not fair game when calculating the size of the budget deficit? Does’t lower spending, regardless of the reason, need to be included when estimating future deficits?

bayam on February 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

It shouldn’t effect future deficits because it should be included in future projected spending.

Only by assuming that our current spending is the ‘baseline’ for future spending(including one-time and extraordinary spending like this and Disaster relief) do we get to the situation where not doing something you never planned to do is counted as saving money.

OBQuiet on February 13, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Let’s stop budgeting on an +8% base. These phoney cuts are like the budget shortfall I and Texas are having. To hear the DEMwits tell it if I plan to spend 3 billion and I only have/get 1 billion I have a 2 billion shortfall! Since I budgeted to be rich this year, I guess I am having the same shortfall. Stop stupid baseline budgeting and hold the line congress!

landowner on February 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Cordially,

OBQuiet on February 13, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Spot on! Now send that to several of our congress that signed some sort of pledge/contract I believe and force feed them the text and intent of your letter.

Keep up the good work!

landowner on February 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM