The Washington Post editors are not pleased with the president’s dodge on the omnibus spending bill, a monstrous $410B spend-a-thon with over 8500 earmarks. They declare that “his asserted stance that this is, in the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, ‘last year’s business,’ borders on irresponsible. This may be last year’s business, but Mr. Obama is this year’s president.” Ouch…
And they rightfully note that the real crime here may not be the earmarks but the “significant jump in domestic spending that is built into the annual baseline.” And that penchant for spending doesn’t stop in the omnibus spending bill for this year:
The rise in spending reflects the pent-up demand of Democrats unable to get their budget priorities past a Republican Congress or signed by a Republican president. This category of spending has been squeezed; according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, discretionary spending outside of defense and homeland security has increased an average of just 1.3 percent annually, adjusting for inflation, since 2001. Nonetheless, increases of this size cannot continue; it’s worrisome that the president’s proposed budget for 2010 appears to envision another increase in excess of 6 percent in this category.
But in that statistic we find the reason that neither Congress nor the president have much interest in rocking the boat. Aside from once again deferring to Nancy Pelosi, it is hard — after the stimulus and the budget bills — to escape the conclusion that Obama likes all the spending and has no interest in curbing the size of government.
So if the Post is hoping for a newfound concern for fiscal discipline, I think it is on a fool’s errand. This administration, to a far greater degree than the last one, is happy to see that spending baseline go higher and higher. It’s not the unfortunate price of doing business with Congress — it is in fact the Obama team’s goal.