January 27th, 2010
By Ryan Ellis, Americans for Tax Reform
Obama’s faux fiscal conservatism is disingenuous
The political media is awash in news that President Obama will propose a freeze in non-defense, non-security discretionary spending over the next three years. This will reduce the spending baseline by $250 billion over the next decade.
A few thoughts:
Welcome to the fiscal responsibility party, Mr. President. After a year of trillion-dollar bailouts, trillion-dollar stimulus bills, and trillion-dollar healthcare plans, it’s nice to see at least a rhetorical nod toward sanity coming out of the White House.
One little problem: CBO was actually projecting a decline in non-defense discretionary spending over the next few years (from $682 billion in FY 2010 gradually down to $640 billion in 2014). It’s right there in Table 3-1 of the CBO report. The reason is all the “temporary” spending programs that were enacted the first year of the Obama Administration. This is like the weatherman taking credit for a sunny day–it was happening anyway. In fact, freezing this spending is actually a hike in projected spending over the next several years.
The spending “restraint” is a drop in the bucket. Let’s take the White House claim on its face–that this measure will reduce total spending over the next decade by $250 billion. CBO says that under current services, the federal government will be spending $42.9 trillion. So even if this “freeze” is followed through on by the Congressional appropriators, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime will still be spending 99.42% as much as they were planning to, anyway. Big deal. It’s like if you were planning on spending $100 on groceries this week, and instead spent only $99.42.