Obama’s Budget

The big hub-ub of the week in the media is pundits making criticisms of President Obama’s budget. It seems to be some shocking new revelation that in a $3.7 trillion piece of legislation, everyone can find something that they don’t like. Again, shocking. To be sure, I’m not absent criticism on his budget. There are some things I like, and some things I don’t. Overall, I think it’s a sufficient first step towards bigger changes in a couple of years. That brings me to my first of five points:

1. President Obama would like to get re-elected. This budget accomplishes many things. Tackling the major long term problems that we face isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, we’ve created a political system that makes it almost impossible for a president to make tough choices on controversial issues in his first term. You thought the misinformation that the right-wing spewed about health care reform was bad? Just imagine what would happen if President Obama tried to reform medicare, medicaid, the tax code, defense spending, and social security. I can see the Fox News headlines now:

“Is President Obama trying to raise your taxes, put you on a death panel, and allow terrorists to attack us? We’ll let you know, right after the break.”

The truth is, President Obama will take on at least some of these problems after he is re-elected. He’s already said that reforming the tax code will be a priority in his second term. He knows, just like everyone else, that Medicare and Medicaid are going to have to be changed. He knows that we’re going to have to raise taxes. Unfortunately, only a second term president can make those changes. Let’s make sure we have one in 2013.

2. President Obama would like to get re-elected part II. This budget was designed to invoke a lot  of criticism from the right (they would have criticized no matter what) but also some criticism from the left. It makes the President look good to independents, who will ultimately decide the 2012 Presidential Election.

3. Let’s not be hypocrites here.Republicans have reverted back to their “everything Barack Obama does is terrible” mode. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t they proposing to cut $100 billion from the budget – to save $1 trillion over 10 years? Isn’t that what this budget does? So why the ridiculous response? Is it because it cuts oil subsidies instead of cutting NPR and Planned Parenthood?

4. Let’s not be hypocrites here, part II. I think it’s time for Republican lawmakers to stop pretending that the debt and deficit started on January 21st, 2009.

5. So be it. A few days ago, Speaker Boehner said that under President Obama 200,000 new federal jobs have been added. So, if his budget causes some federal job losses, then, “So be it.” Let’s start with the fact that his 200,000 number is way off (it’s more like 50,000). Then let’s move to the fact that he voted FOR continuing a jet engine program that has been decried as pure pork by both sides of the aisle. Why would he vote for a project that adds $3 billion to the deficit? Probably because it supports hundreds of jobs in his district in Ohio.

Isn’t it funny how wasteful spending only occurs in other people’s districts, but spending in your district is always justifiable? Well I say if some people have to lose their jobs in Mr. Boehner’s district, then so be it.


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