Barack Obama insists that the American public want fiscal policies that focus on “balance.” He emphasized that in rolling out both of his major new proposals on jobs and deficit reduction this month in his Rose Garden speech on Monday:
So this is how we can reduce spending: by scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency, by reforming government spending, and by making modest adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid. But all these reductions in spending, by themselves, will not solve our fiscal problems. We can’t just cut our way out of this hole. It’s going to take a balanced approach. If we’re going to make spending cuts — many of which we wouldn’t make if we weren’t facing such large budget deficits — then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.
However, as Andrew Stiles at The Corner points out, Obama has a peculiar idea of what balance actually means. Once the phony gimmicks get stripped out of the deficit reduction bill and the $430 billion for Porkulus II get added back in, it turns out that the balance is, well, not balanced:
In order to come up with that $3.2 trillion figure, the White House employs the following gimmicks to achieve a phony $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction that should not be counted as such: (1) claiming the inevitable reduction in spending — about $1.1 trillion — on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as “savings,” (2) including in its baseline $293 billion in funding for the Medicare “Doc Fix” to restore Medicare payments to physicians, spending that does not reflect current law and ought to be offset, (3) counting as “savings” the subsequent reduction in interest payments on the debt, which does not constitute a “policy” and should not be scored as one.
When that $1.8 billion is removed from the equation, the true nature of the president’s “deficit-reduction” “plan” is laid bare: $1.4 trillion in net deficit reduction consisting of $150 billion in spending increases combined with $1.6 trillion in tax increases.
It’s an interesting “balance” in a deficit-reduction approach that ends up with a net increase in spending married to a massive increase in taxation. What about that says “balance” except the declining balance in the bank accounts of American taxpayers?
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