Commentary Magazine


Topic: GOP budget

The Future of Defense Spending

The Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have a new chart out today that really clarifies what President Obama’s budget will mean for future national spending priorities. Under Obama’s budget, interest payments on debt will exceed national defense spending by 2019:

The reason for this is that under Obama’s budget, rapidly growing debt would lead to higher interest payments, and substantial cuts to the defense budget would cause defense spending to increase at a slower rate.

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The Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have a new chart out today that really clarifies what President Obama’s budget will mean for future national spending priorities. Under Obama’s budget, interest payments on debt will exceed national defense spending by 2019:

The reason for this is that under Obama’s budget, rapidly growing debt would lead to higher interest payments, and substantial cuts to the defense budget would cause defense spending to increase at a slower rate.

Incidentally, the House Budget Committee office tells me the same thing doesn’t happen under chairman Paul Ryan’s budget. Here is their chart for comparison:

Under Ryan’s plan, the defense spending and interest payments are actually the inverse of the levels in Obama’s plan by 2022. As you can see, the interest payments still rise with Ryan’s budget, but at a slower pace, while defense spending increases at a healthy rate during the next decade.

This is a prime example of why getting the debt under control is crucial for the future of national security. But under the president’s budget, neither debt reduction nor defense spending are a priority. Liberals have argued that cutting defense is the best way to get the national debt problem under control, but as these two charts show, that’s not the outcome from Obama’s defense cuts. Even with defense reductions, the interest payments still rise faster than under Ryan’s plan.

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Obama Not Even Creative in His Deceit

It’s not enough that President Obama is making false claim after false claim about Representative Paul Ryan’s budget; he is also doing so using the same stale, warmed-over lines of attack. The president isn’t even doing us the honor of being creative in deceit.

I’d simply add this: if Obama is going to plagiarize someone, at least he could choose presidents whose words are memorable and witty rather than pedestrian, strident and banal.

There are multiple reasons to defeat Obama; the fact that he’s too lazy to come up with original disinformation can be added to the list.

 

It’s not enough that President Obama is making false claim after false claim about Representative Paul Ryan’s budget; he is also doing so using the same stale, warmed-over lines of attack. The president isn’t even doing us the honor of being creative in deceit.

I’d simply add this: if Obama is going to plagiarize someone, at least he could choose presidents whose words are memorable and witty rather than pedestrian, strident and banal.

There are multiple reasons to defeat Obama; the fact that he’s too lazy to come up with original disinformation can be added to the list.

 

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Ruling: Senate Can’t Dodge Unpopular Budget Votes

Senate Democrats hoped to avoid voting on any controversial budget resolutions, claiming the debt ceiling deal last summer already deemed a budget for the next two years. But the new Parliamentarian disagreed, and issued a ruling that will give Republicans more power to force budgetary votes that the majority party wants to avoid:

Newly appointed Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whom [Sen. Harry] Reid recommended for the job, has decided that last summer’s deal on the debt ceiling and spending caps does not preclude the Senate from taking up other budget resolutions this year. The ruling could force vulnerable Democrats to cast tough votes that hurt them in November, a situation Reid and other leaders are eager to avoid as they work to protect their fragile majority.

The written opinion, shared late last week with a handful of Democratic and GOP senators, gives Republicans significantly more leverage to push for votes on budgets of their choosing. It could mean roll calls on Rep. Paul Ryan’s House-passed GOP budget plan and others offered by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Democrats would gladly vote down the Ryan blueprint, which Obama described Tuesday as a “radical” vision that guts funding for Medicare and education.

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Senate Democrats hoped to avoid voting on any controversial budget resolutions, claiming the debt ceiling deal last summer already deemed a budget for the next two years. But the new Parliamentarian disagreed, and issued a ruling that will give Republicans more power to force budgetary votes that the majority party wants to avoid:

Newly appointed Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, whom [Sen. Harry] Reid recommended for the job, has decided that last summer’s deal on the debt ceiling and spending caps does not preclude the Senate from taking up other budget resolutions this year. The ruling could force vulnerable Democrats to cast tough votes that hurt them in November, a situation Reid and other leaders are eager to avoid as they work to protect their fragile majority.

The written opinion, shared late last week with a handful of Democratic and GOP senators, gives Republicans significantly more leverage to push for votes on budgets of their choosing. It could mean roll calls on Rep. Paul Ryan’s House-passed GOP budget plan and others offered by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Democrats would gladly vote down the Ryan blueprint, which Obama described Tuesday as a “radical” vision that guts funding for Medicare and education.

Ryan’s budget would be good to bring up for a vote, though nobody expects it to actually pass. But Republicans will likely try to force a vote on Obama’s budget, which already failed unanimously in the House, and would likely go down in flames for the second year in a row in the Senate.

That is, if Reid would ever agree to bring the president’s budget to the floor. As Politico notes, if Reid refuses to do so, that’s a potentially damaging political move in itself. What’s worse though? For Reid to block it from a floor vote – a clear acknowledgement that it won’t pass – or to allow the vote and let the White House go through the embarrassment of a (likely unanimous) rejection once again? It seems like there’s a good chance the budget will never actually make it to the floor, despite the Parliamentarian’s ruling.

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Obama Mocks Romney’s Word “Marvelous”

In a preview of what’s to come during the general election fight, President Obama took a mocking and unusually personal swipe at Mitt Romney during a speech on the GOP budget today:

OBAMA: One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar of version of this plan from last year would be introduced on day one of his presidency. He said that he’s very supportive of this new budget. And he even called it marvelous — which is a word you don’t often hear when describing a budget. [Laughter]. That’s a word you don’t often hear generally. [Laughter].

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In a preview of what’s to come during the general election fight, President Obama took a mocking and unusually personal swipe at Mitt Romney during a speech on the GOP budget today:

OBAMA: One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar of version of this plan from last year would be introduced on day one of his presidency. He said that he’s very supportive of this new budget. And he even called it marvelous — which is a word you don’t often hear when describing a budget. [Laughter]. That’s a word you don’t often hear generally. [Laughter].

That’s because using the word “marvelous” is totally weird, unless you’re Obama or one of his speechwriters. Maybe Romney picked up the term from “Mad Men,” because he’s so old-fashioned he thinks it’s the evening news (that last nonsensical insult was David Axelrod’s contribution to the “Romney is uncool and out-of-touch” debate this morning).

It sounds like the Obama campaign is finally rolling out that personal-attack strategy they floated last summer to define Romney as “weird” and “awkward.” As Politico reported last August:

The onslaught would have two aspects. The first is personal: Obama’s reelection campaign will portray the public Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama’s advisers in about a dozen interviews, “weird.”

“First, they’ve got to like you, and there’s not a lot to like about Mitt Romney,” said Chicago Democratic consultant Pete Giangreco, who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign. “There’s no way to hide this guy and hide his innate phoniness.”

A senior Obama adviser was even more cutting, suggesting that the Republican’s personal awkwardness will turn off voters.

“There’s a weirdness factor with Romney, and it remains to be seen how he wears with the public,” the adviser said, noting that the contrasts they’d drive between the president and the former Massachusetts governor would be “based on character to a great extent.”

It won’t be a stretch to define Romney as strange, especially with the media and Hollywood willing to play along. The worst thing Romney can do is to go on the defense or try to refute these attacks. No matter what he does, he’s not going to seem cool, so he shouldn’t even bother to try that. But he will be able to draw a contrast between his own campaign and Obama’s if he declines to get into the mud, and keeps the focus on substance, not personality. And if Zooey Deschanel’s and Michael Cera’s careers prove anything, sometimes the public likes awkward.

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Barack Obama: Desperate and Demagogic

From National Journal:

Obama called the GOP budget “a Trojan horse. Disguised as a deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

“It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it– a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.”

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From National Journal:

Obama called the GOP budget “a Trojan horse. Disguised as a deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

“It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it– a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.”

It’s also antithetical for a president who portrayed himself as the antidote to “worn-out dogmas,” “worn-out ideas” and “stale political arguments” – who doesn’t subscribe to an “old, discredited philosophy” and would do away with “childish things”– to employ stale, worn-out, discredited, dogmatic, and uncreative arguments in order to advance his re-election chances.

It turns out it is Obama, not Republicans, whose policies are a “Trojan horse”– in this case, by using the uninsured as an excuse to promote an unconstitutional health care plan that confers upon the federal government unlimited powers. (See this post by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Gordon Gray.)

It is Obama’s policies that are crushing opportunity and upward mobility in America. And what’s really radical is a president who submits multiple budgets with trillion-dollar deficits and doesn’t appear to give a damn about it.

As for “thinly veiled social Darwinism”: Only a politician who is (a) deeply dishonest; (b) deeply cynical; and/or (c) a product of the hard left could make such a preposterous claim. The most vulnerable members of society will sustain the greatest damage when the fiscal crisis that Obama has done so much to contribute to — and nothing to mitigate — arrives on our shores. For a preview of coming attractions, see Greece and other European nations.

The GOP, to its credit, is presenting a budget that is equal to this moment. It is bold, reasonable, and courageous — everything Obama is not. Unable to defend his record and seemingly unable to articulate a governing vision, the president has become desperate and demagogic, an unusually small man in an unusually small party. And it’s only just begun.

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