Obamateurism of the Day

When Barack Obama ran for the presidency, he promised to enforce fiscal responsibility once in charge of the executive branch. He pledged to go through the budget “line by line” to eliminate government waste in order to “restore confidence” in Washington DC. Obama repeated this pledge just three weeks ago in his April 18th message to America:

Well, Barack Obama is a man of his word. (All right, all right, stop laughing.) According to the Associated Press, Obama has finished scouring the budget — and has found a whopping 0.5% of the budget to trim:

After a line-by-line scrub of the federal budget, President Barack Obama has signed off on a roster of 121 budget cuts totaling $17 billion — or about one-half of 1 percent of the $3.4 trillion budget Congress has approved for next year.

Budget Director Peter Orszag briefed Democratic lawmakers on a partial roster of the cuts Wednesday before a public release on Thursday. Obama also is fleshing out the details of the $1.3 trillion portion of the budget that he requested Congress pass through appropriations bills for the budget year beginning Oct. 1.

Some of the cuts are sure to rankle lawmakers, such as the elimination of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which gives money to states to help defray the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes. President George W. Bush tried and failed to kill the $400 million program several times.

A senior White House official said the cuts would total $17 billion, with about half the savings coming from the Pentagon budget, and the other half from domestic programs. Most of the savings, $11.5 billion, would come from appropriated programs.

That’s it. Apparently, we were all wrong. 99.5% of the federal budget is meat, and Obama found all the fat in that $17 billion. Just to remind everyone, $17 billion comprises just 4.25% of the increase in the federal budget under Obama.  It amounts to somewhere around 2.2% of Porkulus.  Obama just signed an omnibus spending bill that cost $410 billion, against which the cuts are about 4.25% as well.  The pork-barrel line items in the omnibus spending plan alone amounted to almost half of what Obama just cut ($7.7 billion).  And just to emphasize the point, the $17 billion amounts to 0.85% of 2009’s deficit, and only 1.7% of the lowest deficit projected by the Obama administration in any of the next ten years.

Heck, even an amateur could do better than this.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!