Obama’s Late Night Budget Bluster
5:30 PM, Sep 19, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Erskine Bowles, a Democrat Obama chose to co-chair his debt commission, had this to say about Obama's proposal: "The President came out with his own plan and the President came out, as you will remember, with a budget and I don’t think anyone took that budget very seriously. Um, the Senate voted against it 97 to nothing."
Not only has the president failed to do anything serious on debt and deficits, comments from his top adviser suggest that it wouldn’t be a priority in his second term. In an interview with National Journal, David Axelrod responded to a claim that Obama has been “vague” about his second term goals. He listed six specific issues. The list did not include anything on the debt or deficits.
If cutting the deficit or reducing the debt were an Obama priority, it’s unlikely that the president’s top adviser would fail to mention it.
Moreover, Obama claims in the Letterman interview, as he has before, that together with his phantom spending cuts, raising taxes on the rich will help us “manage very effectively” and “help get our books in order.”
It will not.
Let’s use the White House’s own numbers. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that allowing Bush tax cuts to expire for those with incomes above $250,000 would generate $835 billion over the next ten years – or $83 billion per year. Adding in hikes in the estate, gift, and GST taxes would bring in another $116 billion. In total, the White House estimates that its tax hikes would bring in an additional $952 billion.
And how much in deficit spending? $6.4 trillion over the same ten years.
Letterman’s question wasn’t precise. Was he talking about the debt as it registered on the debt clock at the Republican convention? Or, picking up on Obama’s answer, when Clinton left office? When Obama came to office? The question was ambiguous, but Obama, rather than clarify, simply chose not to answer it.
Letterman then asks a rather basic question:
The most stunning part of Obama’s answer is his claim that “we don’t have to worry about [debt] in the short term.”