Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Showing that he's finally getting serious about America's debt crisis, Barack Obama submitted his $3.7 trillion dollar budget yesterday while wearing his frowny face. While many Republicans suggested that the president might seem more serious if he actually proposed significant spending cuts, the Whitehouse was quick to point out that thousands of frowny faces caused the government to fall in Egypt, and so it's at least plausible that a similar strategy could cause our debt to fall.
In fairness, the president's budget did contain some specific cost-cutting measures. For example, there is no funding proposed for a return of the Presidential Debt Reduction Commission, who recently said that the federal budget needs at least four times the spending cuts that Mr. Obama is currently proposing.
Among the additional cuts actually suggested by Mr. Obama is reduced funding for home heating for the poor, presumably under the expectation that if Republicans vote for it they'll look like cruel bastards, and if they don't vote for it they'll seem like complete hypocrites. Moreover, freezing people look great on television, and will make taxpayers feel really guilty about the whole "cost cutting" thing.
Of course, what the president lacks in boldness when it comes to spending cuts is more than made up for by his enthusiastic willingness to raise taxes...by as much as $1.5 trillion in 10 years. Mr. Obama suggests raising taxes on the nation's top earners, raising the capital gains tax (which will discourage investment in business), raising the "death tax," reducing deductions for charitable donations, and creating energy taxes which will decrease hiring while raising consumer prices. Ouch.
The submission of the president's budget is expected to be only the first shot in a contentious battle over the nation's faltering economy and unsustainable debt levels. A battle that must finally be fought, because America is living on borrowed time. Or would be, if we had any credit left.