We have tilled this ground plenty of times on this blog, but it bears occasional re-tilling, as Republicans plant weeds of deception, and especially now that President Obama has released his budget for fiscal year 2013, which Republicans have already attacked as “Debt on Arrival.”
I will post yet again the now-famous chart demonstrating what is driving our ongoing deficits and thus our national debt over the near and mid-term:
This image needs no explanation from me. It’s pretty clear that past policy decisions have ongoing consequences, no matter who sits in the Oval Office.
* Deficit: Obama would use higher taxes on the wealthy, and fewer tax subsidies for oil companies, to help bring down the deficit. Overall, the White House plan would reduce the deficit by about $4 trillion over the next decade, though the White House plan prioritizes economic growth in the short term, and leaves debt reduction for another day.
* Striking a chord for budget honesty: If the White House were more inclined to rely on gimmicks, the deficit figures would look a lot better. Whereas Bush/Cheney consistently chose to ignore the cost of wars, the Medicare “doc fix,” and AMT costs to make it appear they were keeping deficits down, Obama’s team is playing it straight. This matters: “If the Obama White House had budgeted for 2013 and beyond the way Mr. Bush had, its deficit forecast for 2022 would have been $167 billion, or 0.7 percent of the economy. Instead, because White House budget writers are adjusting for such costs, the deficit is forecast to be 2.8 percent of the economy that year, $704 billion.”
That last quote is from the very last paragraph in a New York Times article (“Republicans See Broken Promises and Gimmicks in Obama Budget“) noting the extensive, if false, charges by Republicans against Mr. Obama’s budget. Now, if the Times was truly a guardian of liberal orthodoxy, perhaps the above paragraph would have at the beginning of such an article, not the end.
Let’s look at part of that quote again:
If the Obama White House had budgeted for 2013 and beyond the way Mr. Bush had, its deficit forecast for 2022 would have been $167 billion, or 0.7 percent of the economy.
That piece of information should be a starting point for any discussion about Mr. Obama’s budget or about deficit spending comparisons between Bush and Obama, but unfortunately it won’t.
In any case, Mr. Obama’s budget is in line with his mostly centrist philosophy, generally supported by the American people, of requiring those who have benefited most (including rich-beyond-imagination oil companies) to chip in a little more to help pay for needed investments in things like infrastructure and education and job-training and a viable safety net, as well as helping cut the deficit.
While the American people will have the last word, Mr. Obama’s budget philosophy will contrast sharply with that of Republicans, who have fought and will continue to fight with Talibanic fervor to protect the wealthiest Americans from even the slightest increase in taxes, while proposing devastating cuts to social programs that will make life harder for many Americans who already are fighting to overcome past Republican policy decisions.