The fallout from President Obama’s bizarre press conference yesterday continues. I wrote about it last night. President Obama, with a breathtaking disregard for the facts, claimed that under his FY 2012 budget, the federal budget would no longer be running a deficit as of the middle of the decade.
Obama phrased this claim in several unambiguous ways: “Our budget meets that pledge and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade.” “On the budget, what my budget does is to put forward some tough choices, some significant spending cuts so that by the middle of this decade our annual spending will match our annual revenues. We will not be adding more to the national debt.” “What we say in our budget is let’s get control of our discretionary budget to make sure that whatever it is that we’re spending on an annual basis, we’re also taking in a similar amount.”
The President’s claim that under his budget–granting the rosy assumptions that underlie the numbers–“we will not be adding more to the national debt” after the middle of the decade is ridiculous. This is not a debatable point. This is a screen shot of page 171 of the Obama administration’s FY 2012 budget proposal. I have highlighted the row titled “Deficit.” You will see that Obama’s budget runs a huge deficit every year from now through 2021. In each year, contrary to Obama’s assurances, the government, if it hits the administration’s projections, will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. Click to enlarge:
Obama’s budget proposal says, on its face, that the administration intends to add nearly $4.7 trillion in new debt between 2015 and 2021.
It is hard to say what was going on in Obama’s mind yesterday–whether he was lying, plain and simple; or whether he doesn’t understand the most basic elements of his own budget; or whether he was having some weird kind of synapse failure. In any event, the liberal Politifact site has branded his claims “false,” as they obviously are. Today Senator Jeff Sessions had some fun with Obama and the Democrats on the floor of the Senate, as he quoted Obama while standing next to a chart that shows the steadily growing debt contemplated by Obama’s budget proposal. Sessions challenged any Democratic Senator to step forward and explain how Obama’s claims could possibly be justified; no one tried.
It is dismaying to realize that we have a President who cannot talk either intelligently or honestly about his own budget. If the nation is to be saved from the fiscal disaster that looms over us, it is up to the Republicans to do it.
UPDATE: On his first day on the job, incoming press secretary Jay Carney tried manfully to defend his boss’s grasp of the budget:
JAKE TAPPER: Just to button this, you think that, “We will not be adding more to the national debt,” is a statement that stands to scrutiny?
JAY CARNEY: Absolutely, absolutely. And Jake, we have explained precisely what that means in terms of new spending; you know, getting our spending and income — I mean, our income and spending into balance — that is an important step towards dealing with our deficit and our debt.
So it wasn’t just Obama having a bizarrely bad day; his administration really is trying to fool the public by running away from its own budget.