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Barack Obama between flags SC

In his 2011 State of the Union Address, Barack Obama gave himself five more years of trillion-dollar deficit spending, a $678 billion income tax hike, a Social Security tax increase, and the permanent extension of ObamaCare – and he gave Republicans medical malpractice reform and a joke about a salmon.


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Since his inauguration, the president has gone on a two-year spending orgy unrivaled since the days of Lyndon Johnson or FDR. Faced with a national backlash against towering debt, he has come up with a “compromise”: Americans should accept the big government expansion he has forced down their throats and move on. This follows the president’s familiar pattern of forcing through costly and unpopular measures, then promising “discipline” after the fact.

The most reported aspect of the speech was Obama’s pledge to freeze discretionary, non-military spending at their current levels – exempting such major programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Homeland Security.

At the risk of stating the obvious, which perhaps no one has yet stated, there is no “savings.” As President Obama would say, “Let’s be clear”: Savings is when you reduce the amount of money you are spending. The president’s proposal is to spend the same amount of money. The only “savings” would come from the fact that inflation unleashed by deficit spending and quantitative easing will devalue the dollar – but this is hardly a cause for cheer.

History shows that spending freezes rarely freeze anything. The most ambitious attempt was the 1985 Gramm-Rudman-Hollings agreement, which attempted to control deficit spending by future Congresses, but many of the same politicians who voted for the bill decided they would not abide by its terms the next year. Deficits continued to mount. To give a more recent example, last year Congress approved slightly more than half of the whopping $11.5 billion in spending cuts Obama requested last year.

The amount of the budget actually affected is rather modest, indeed. It would apply to approximately 12 percent of the budget. Alec Phillips, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, estimates that if every Congress for the next five years holds to current levels, it would “save” $200 billion. The New York Times noted its higher estimate of “$250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.” Obama’s plan would cost half-a-trillion dollars more than returning to 2008 spending levels, as proposed by the most moderate Republicans. Sen. Rand Paul has proposed a half-a-trillion dollar spending cut this year, which includes cutting food stamps and eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Senator Jim DeMint introduced a bill to cut $2.5 trillion over ten years, eliminating the aforementioned programs as well as Amtrak and the president’s “high-speed rail” and rolling back spending to 2006 levels. Obama’s freeze is small beer in its own terms and hypocritical when paired with his calls for new spending.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.



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