Last night President Obama gave an interview to a television station in Cincinnati in which he said:
[My] budget freezes spending for five years, and what that does is it solves the short-term problem by saying, we’re not going to spend any more money than we’re taking in.
Obama’s FY 2012 budget does not, of course, “freeze spending for five years.” It projects spending to be almost $1 trillion higher in FY 2017 than in FY 2012. That isn’t what I want to focus on, however. Ever since his budget was released earlier this week, President Obama has been peddling the absurd claim that that by mid-decade, it is projected to be in balance: “we’re not going to spend any more money than we’re taking in.” This is simply a lie.
Even if we take the administration’s rosy projections at face value, there is no year between now and 2021 in which the administration intends to run less than a $600 billion deficit. There is no year when the plan is to come remotely close to “not spending any more money than we’re taking in.” I posted this screen shot from page 171 of Obama’s budget last night; it shows the projected deficits through FY 2021. Click to enlarge:
Until now, I have tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. But there isn’t any polite way to put it: he is lying to the American people about his own budget. Whether this is shocking or not depends, I guess, on how closely you have followed the Obama administration.
Why is Obama lying? It is the less important part of a two-part strategy. The administration wants to create a smoke-screen that gives the public the impression that its proposals include serious cuts and are not overly irresponsible. But the administration’s budget does nothing at all about entitlements. Since it is entitlements that will, if unchecked, bankrupt our country, the Democrats are counting on the Republicans to do the dirty work for them. They know the GOP will offer entitlement reforms rather than let the U.S. go broke. In some fashion, those entitlement reforms will become law. That will save not just the country, but also the Democrats. But the Dems’ strategy is to demagogue their way back into power by blaming entitlement reform on the Republicans.
That’s why a “senior Democratic Congressional aide” called Republicans “suckers” for committing to offer entitlement reform proposals. Politically, he may prove to be right. But we don’t have a leader in the White House, so leadership on the most vital issue of our time has to come from Congressional Republicans.