Those seeking to understand President Obama’s new budget and what it says about the crushing disappointment Obama has been to a central mode of liberal self-congratulation need look no further than John Steele Gordon’s post from last week about the proposed “Zuckerberg tax.” John wrote about how Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was about to make a lot of money from his successful business, and liberals began trying to come up with a new rule that would allow the government to confiscate some of it.
John noted that “the perverse economic consequences of this would be almost without end” and wondered whether anything could “be more revelatory of the utter intellectual bankruptcy of latter-day liberalism” than the economically illiterate squawking parrot it has become. The answer is yes. While the Zuckerberg tax could be written off as one more ridiculous scheme, the president’s budget carries far more significance. And in this way, the damage to modern liberalism continues. Here’s James Pethokoukis at AEI:
New White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew– who was director of the Office of Management and Budget under both Presidents Clinton and Obama – made statements yesterday that were flat out false and (more problematically) ones he had to know were false.
To be specific: On CNN yesterday, Lew was asked about the fact that Majority Leader Harry Reid said he does not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. In response, the White House chief of staff said this: “Well, let’s be clear. What Senator Reid is talking about is a fairly narrow point. In order for the Senate to do its annual work on appropriation bills, they need to pass a certain piece of legislation which sets a limit. They did that last year. That’s what he’s talking about. He’s not saying that they shouldn’t pass a budget. But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes, and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support.” Lew added, “Unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed. And I think he was reflecting the reality that that could be a challenge.”
President Obama released his annual budget today, and it’s already being blasted by the GOP as chock full of gimmicks and faulty accounting. Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, called the plan “one of the most spectacular fiscal cover-ups in American history.”
According to the Republicans on the committee, it includes $1.9 trillion in new taxes, adds $11 trillion to the debt, and includes a net increase of spending over the current projections. It also falsely claims to cut the debt by $4 trillion but only reduces it by $273 billion, say Republicans:
- It does not count the cost of replacing the $1.2 trillion sequester (spending reduction plus interest savings) required under current law. This is plainly true because the president eliminates the reductions required by the law that he signed and replaces it with tax increases. Then he fails to score the cost of repeal, a monumental deception.
- It counts the inevitable winding down of the war costs in Afghanistan—all of which is borrowed—as $1 trillion in spending reduction; and
- It buries the $522 billion cost of freezing the Medicare physician update in the baseline, without identifying any source of funds to pay for it.
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