Our Budget-Conscious President

I’ve had some pretty serious things to say the past few days, and they were things that needed to be said. How about some levity today? What’s nice about looking for levity is that often you don’t have to stray past a new Obama headline in the news. A couple days ago, I heard this joke:

President Barack Obama, who has increased the national debt by $53,377 per household, has proclaimed April “National Financial Capability Month,” during which his administration will do things such as teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”

“I call upon all American to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices,” Obama said in an official proclamation released Friday.

“My administration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace,” he said.

Alright now, get up off the floor. Laughing that hard could cause long-term physical damage. Yes, I know Obama hasn’t yet submitted his budget for this year. Yes, I know he plans to submit it 65 days late, thereby violating the law. Yes, I realize this is the third year in a row he has done this. And yes, I understand he’s the only president in American history to have submitted late budgets in consecutive years. Hey, give the guy a break. He’s never run anything before that required a budget. Everyone needs some on-the-job training. What’s that? You say you don’t want him teaching your children how to budget? Why, think of what they could learn from his experience!

Besides, the job of being president is so wearying that both Obama and his family need an occasional vacation:

George Bush got out of Washington quite often also, but spent most of those days at his own ranch in Texas, where he continued to work. Same with Ronald Reagan, who signed his major tax cut bill at his ranch outside Santa Barbara, California. It’s more the nature of the Obamas’ vacations that stand out. They’re always at some fancy resort or super-expensive locale—all at the taxpayers’ expense, of course.

Having this president lecture anyone on fiscal responsibility is like listening to Bill Clinton speak on the importance of marital fidelity.

Competing Budgets

In the past few days, we’ve seen a contrast in budget proposals. Paul Ryan, on the Republican side, has come up with a plan that will repeal Obamacare—which insurance companies are informing us will lead to a possible doubling of premiums by next year—and put the country on the path to a balanced budget in ten years. The Senate Democrats have an entirely different plan, one that comports with President Obama’s vision. John Hinderaker, at the Power Line blog, explains,

After four years, Congressional Democrats have finally produced a budget. The process has proved revealing: the Democrats’ budget never balances, increases spending by 62% over ten years, and adds $7 trillion to the national debt despite raising taxes by $1.5 trillion. So Senate Democrats must agree with President Obama that the nation does not face a debt crisis. . . .

We know from the budgets he has submitted for the last four years that Obama doesn’t care about the debt, immediately or otherwise, and has no intention of addressing it, ever. His budgets contemplate nothing but huge deficits as far as the eye can see, and would add trillions to the national debt through ever-increasing spending.

House Republicans have tried repeatedly to send bills to the Senate that would help solve our financial crisis. Each time, the Senate has refused even to allow a vote—all at the behest of the White House.

As the nation slides inexorably into a massive debt that might never be stopped, the president and the Democrat leaders in the Senate are ideologically blind to the disaster that looms:

For those who choose to believe Obama’s rosy picture of financial stability, there is a surprise coming:

A pleasant surprise, it is not.

Responsible Spender?

In the past week, President Obama, on the campaign trail, has tried to convince his audiences—and us as well—that he has been the most responsible spender in recent presidential history. He used as his proof an article written by someone who drew all his information from a presentation by Nancy Pelosi. Now there’s a solid source. In order to believe this spin, one has to place all 2009 spending on former President Bush. How can anyone do that? Well, since 2009 spending started under a Bush budget that began in 2008, surely it all belongs to him, right? Not when you actually look at the facts, which somehow elude our current leader. Bush never signed that budget: Obama did later. The faulty analysis also throws the stimulus bill onto Bush, even though it was an Obama enterprise from the start.

Don’t believe everything you hear from this president. In fact, don’t believe most of what you hear, especially now that the campaign is in full throttle. Let me be very clear [as Obama often says]: Obama and the Congress have added more than $5 trillion to the budget in less than four years. Bush added $4 trillion in eight years. As unadmirable as Bush’s record may be, it is the epitome of fiscal control when compared to Obama’s.

Every time Obama has sent his version of a budget to the Congress, it has been rejected unanimously—in other words, by both Republicans and Democrats:

Of course, one of the reasons the Democrat leadership has rejected Obama budgets is that it hasn’t been stellar at even considering budgets. The Senate, under Harry Reid’s leadership [?], hasn’t put forward a budget for a vote in over three years, despite a law requiring it.

So much for the concept of the rule of law.

How bad is the current fiscal situation? Here’s one way of understanding it that may bring it closer to home:

Yet what we are told about the deficit doesn’t take into account a deficit that is officially off-budget. We try to pretend it isn’t there, but it’s the biggest fiscal headache of all:

Unless something is done to deal with the root of the problem, we will become a financial basket-case. But every time someone—usually Republican—attempts to offer a plan to deal with it, Republicans are accused of wanting to throw granny off a cliff. That type of political demagoguery is not new, but at the critical juncture at which we now stand, it is particularly irresponsible.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for some time, you know Mitt Romney was not my preferred candidate, but I now have to hope, work, and pray for his election, if for no other reason than to remove the White House’s current temporary occupant. These last four years have been a disaster in more ways than I can take the time to enumerate today. Maybe someone who understands better how economics works can make a difference.

Obama’s Plan of Action

President Obama famously—or infamously—said at the beginning of his term that if things didn’t get better in the next three years, he should be a one-term president. I would like to hold him to that promise. But then, he’s not been too good at keeping his promises:

Some people believe he deserves special recognition for this feat. Here’s one suggestion:

He has his solutions to the national debt problem. Here’s one:

Don’t like that one? Well, here’s another:

Of course, it’s not just on the issue of the national debt that he’s gone astray. When he took office, the average price of gasoline was about $1.80, after President Bush took action to open up more offshore drilling sites. Obama has cut back severely on those permissions. Is that perhaps one of the reasons we’ve seen a spike that may soon set a record? Already gas prices for this time of the year are at an all-time high. What’s he going to do about it?

Here’s a concise summary and the president’s proposed plan of action:

I don’t think so.

The Sunset of Our National Life?

Fallout from President Obama’s latest proposed budget continues. Critics are getting a lot of ammunition by playing back videos of Obama on the campaign trail before his election, when he called the Bush deficits unpatriotic. Also making the rounds is a speech where he promised to cut the debt in half by the end of his term. I wouldn’t call an additional $5 trillion an exercise in debt reduction. His words have come back to damage him now, and rightly so.

One critic, though, has at least compared the proposed budget to some of the Western world’s finest literature:

Speaking of fantasies:

The question that always troubles me is whether the voters will realize what’s going on, or will they instead fall for the illusion this administration is touting as reality:

Driving off into that sunset could be our last act as a sovereign people.

Budgetary Foolishness

The Associated Press, hardly a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, had this to say about the new budget proposal President Obama showcased this week:

Taking a pass on reining in government growth, President Barack Obama unveiled a record $3.8 trillion election-year budget plan … calling for stimulus-style spending on roads and schools and tax hikes on the wealthy to help pay the costs. … Obama would leave the spiraling growth of health care programs for the elderly and the poor largely unchecked. The plan claims $4 trillion in deficit savings over the coming decade, but most of if would be through tax increases Republicans oppose, lower war costs already in motion, and budget cuts enacted last year in a debt pact with GOP lawmakers.

The only real cuts would be in defense, which is only the first obligation of any government—to protect its citizens.

One of the reporters at the White House press conference on the budget put it this way to presidential spokesman Jay Carney in trying to make the point about the foolishness of the president’s plan:

It would be along the lines of a family that makes $29,000 a year spending $38,000 a year, so taking on new debt—$9,000 in new debt with a $153,000 credit card bill that they were not able to pay down.

Carney’s response was to—get ready for this unique explanation—blame Bush.

What the Obama budget really means is that by 2022, one decade from now, we will no longer be $15 trillion in debt, but $25 trillion. Yet he touts what he calls the economic recovery, and warns that to stop government spending will thwart the recovery. That’s just warmed-over, totally discredited Keynesian theory that says government spending is the way to prosperity. Absurd. But of course the president wants to paint the rosiest picture possible.

His perceptions are way off:

Congratulations, Mr. President, for not allowing the stress to get to you. Unfortunately, it’s getting to the rest of us.

An Economic Roundup . . . in Cartoons

The economy has been everyone’s preoccupation, what with the debt/budget deal earlier this week, the stock market freefall on Thursday, and the continuing bad jobs reports. And late last night, I saw where S&P downgraded the nation’s credit rating from triple A to double A, which has never happened before. Congratulations, President Obama, for achieving something no other American president ever achieved.

Let’s take the cartoonists’ pulse on economic-related news, starting with the real accomplishment of the debt deal:

Too pessimistic? How about this one?

I think this proves you can stimulate a patient to death. Well, how are things going on the jobs front?

What do you do when this is all you have to show for your efforts?

Ah, yes, the same theme that has dominated the Obama presidency from the beginning—it’s someone else’s fault. Well, the president has a solution to the problem:

But if you were to press President Obama for who is really to blame, I have a feeling he’d point to the real culprits:

I don’t know—I think I like those “extremists.” They did pretty well without his guidance.