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Obama’s Plan Is Filled With Budget Tricks

Obama’s budget plan calls for $13 in tax hikes $11 in tax hikes for every dollar in spending cuts when you account for all the budgetary gimmicks the White House included.

And as the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee found, Obama’s plan is stuffed to the breaking point with budget tricks. If you thought some of the Democratic deficit plans during the debt ceiling debate were deceptive, you haven’t seen anything yet:

The plan put forth by the president is made to look more heavily weighted to spending cuts through three gimmicks. First, the plan shows $1.1 trillion in savings from putting a cap on war costs, but those costs are going to decrease as the war effort unwinds whether or not the cap is in place. …

This is similar to one of Harry Reid’s favorite tricks during the debt ceiling negotiations. Despite the fact we’re already expecting the drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq to take place – along with the savings that come with it – the president included this in his plan as a supposed “spending cut.” But this reduction would have occurred regardless. It’s nothing new.

Second, the administration’s baseline assumes a Medicare “Doc Fix” (physician payment freeze), an increase in spending of $293 billion over ten years compared to a current law baseline. This trick counts the higher spending as a given rather than as a policy choice that needs to be offset.…

Finally, the president counts as savings the net interest effects of his proposed policy changes—even though interest costs are the secondary effect of legislative changes rather than a change that is voted on by the Congress.

The interest costs actually will go down with lower debt, but including them in here is seriously dishonest. They’re not new spending cuts, and they’re an after-effect of the legislation – not anything that can actually be proposed and voted on.

According to the Republicans on the budget committee, “the actual amount of net deficit reduction proposed by the president is $1.409 trillion, consisting of $146 billion in spending increases and $1.555 trillion in tax increases.”

And it’s not just Senate Republicans who are rolling their eyes over Obama’s plan. The Washington Post also reported on the astonishing number of budget gimmicks today:

The latest Obama plan “doesn’t produce any more in realistic savings than the plan they offered in April,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Washington Post. “They’ve filled in details, repackaged it and replaced one gimmick with another. They don’t even stabilize the debt. This is just not enough.”

It makes you wonder exactly how Obama thought this plan would be acceptable to the American public. Either the White House is more delusional than anyone imagined, or they’ve decided to give up.



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