April, 20th 2009

Greg Mankiw puts Obama's "commitment" to fiscal "responsibility" in perspective

– Liz Mair

This is just so right-on, I can't do better than repost it in full.  So here goes:

Fiscal Responsibility

The Washington Post reports:

President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, and he will order its members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official....Earlier this month, both chambers of Congress passed Obama's $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, which includes unprecedented new investments in health care, education and energy. But the huge budget, which contemplates a $1.2 trillion deficit, has drawn the ire of small-government conservatives, who say that such high deficits jeopardize the nation's economic future.
Just to be clear: $100 million represents .003 percent of $3.5 trillion.

To put those numbers in perspective, imagine that the head of a household with annual spending of $100,000 called everyone in the family together to deal with a $34,000 budget shortfall. How much would he or she announce that spending had be cut? By $3 over the course of the year--approximately the cost of one latte at Starbucks. The other $33,997? We can put that on the family credit card and worry about it next year.

Not to beat a dead horse, but throughout last year, I, and others working on the GOP campaign effort repeatedly underlined to all manner of folks that Obama had zero commitment to reining in wasteful spending and that his pledge to pursue in excess of $1 trillion in new spending was indicative of his economic outlook.  A lot of people poo-poohed that, and others complained about big spending and failure to get wasteful spending in check under Bush.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I share the viewpoint of those complaining about Bush's spending habits.  But in this case, one wrong (Bush's) plus three or four wrongs (Obama's) on spending don't make a right.  And Obama's big "cutting spending" effort apparently being undertaken today is completely and utterly pathetic and inadequate. [intro]


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