The Blog

Obama’s Budget, Take Two

1:00 PM, Apr 11, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin hits the nail on the head in a piece titled, “Obama’s do-over budget.” Rubin writes:

President Obama introduced a budget that was widely panned. It didn’t touch entitlements, froze discretionary spending at inflated levels and threw  in a $1.5 trillion tax hike. Then Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out his budget, which was widely praised. It addressed Medicare and Medicaid, froze discretionary spending at pre-Obama levels and proposed pro-growth tax reform. Following Obama’s shellacking by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Obama is now going to try it again. His political adviser David Plouffe announced on the Sunday damage-control tour of four Sunday talk shows that the president would be rolling his long-term vision for addressing our debt problems (how appropriate that it was the political hack and not the OMB director, the Treasury secretary or any other serious economic adviser making the announcement). This is, not to mince words, pathetic. 

Rubin also highlights the following statement from Congressman Ryan:

I’m encouraged to see House Republicans’ leadership advance a budget debate the American people deserve. The President, having already put forward an irresponsible budget, has failed to lead on fixing our fiscal problems. But if he does choose to follow with serious proposals that address the drivers of our debt and the anchors holding back our economy, the door is open.

If it seems weird that a president would release a budget shortly after releasing a budget, Obama has a habit of doing this sort of thing. About nine months into the health care debate, three months after the House had passed the original version of Obamacare, and just days before the “health summit” (during which Ryan offered a devastating critique of Obamacare’s phony financial claims), Obama released “his health plan,” as if for the first time. 

So, what can we expect from Obama in the way of suggestions for lowering deficit spending and debt? Well, considering that, in the United States of America’s 234-year history, the only times that the deficit has exceeded 6 percent of the economy have all involved either the Civil War, World War I, World War II, or Obama, there is likely not much that he’ll do. (This chart shows Obama’s truly abysmal performance in this realm to date.) Nevertheless, it’s striking that it took only one week’s worth of leadership-by-example to make Obama crave some of the deficit-cutting limelight. Now we’ll see whether any of the deficit cutting proposals from this most profligate of presidencies can withstand the light of day.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers