The White House unveiled their proposals for the Federal Budget for 2012 that begins October 1. Keep in mind that the budget for 2011 has yet to be passed, thanks to the Democrats not being able to rein in their “mavericks” and the penchant for the White House capitulate to Republican demands. As promised, the White House budget does not mention Social Security which has set the Republicans in the House and Senate to whining that it is the President’s responsibility, not theirs, to swing the ax on “entitlements”. While Obama opened the door to this by loading his deficit commission with the likes of Alan Simpson, he has finally recognized that cutting Social Security benefits in any way will be political suicide in 2012. So wisely, he has left it to the Republicans and they are not about to take any responsibility for it.
The rest of the White House budget is pretty dismal. While there are proposals for education, high-speed rail and infrastructure, it does that by shifting money from other vital programs like heating assistance, wage freezes and other draconian cuts mostly affecting those who can least afford it. The President’s proposed budget will allegedly cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years while still creating creating jobs.
The exchange this morning on CNN with Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-AL) attacking the Obama budget with the argument that “our cuts are better than your cuts” and trying to pass the buck back to Obama on Social Security cuts. This would really funny if it weren’t so devastating to the majority if Americans and the poor
“A one trillion reduction is insignificant,” Sessions insists. “This is nowhere near what’s necessary to avoid the fiscal nightmare that this nation is facing. … It doesn’t touch any of the entitlements, it only has some reductions in the discretionary accounts.”
That’s a slow ball, right over the center of the plate if your job is to reinforce conventional wisdom, and the anchor, Kiran Chetry, knocks it out of the park. “At what point does everybody get together and just say, ‘Alright, it’s time to tackle these bigger issues: Raising the Social Security retirement age. Medicare doesn’t just go to everybody.’ When is that gonna be tackled.”
But, Sessions responds, on tough issues over which Congress has the ultimate say, it’s the President’s job to take all the political risk!
“We’ve heard nothing from our chief executive, the President of the United States,” he said.
The MSM is still perpetuating the lie that Social Security has to be cut when the truth is that it is the one safety net program that has not added one cent to the deficit. If the fund had not been raided to pay for illegal wars and tax cuts for the rich by the Bush administration, the fund would be solvent well into the next century,even wit the influx of the “Boomer” generation. Social Security is not an entitlement.
The Republican budgets would have the same results on the deficit, the difference being that the Republican budget does not create any jobs but would actually kill any chance of job creation by slashing:
- High speed rail investments ($5 billion)
- COPS Hiring (supporting local law enforcement) ($298 million)
- High School Graduation Initiative ($50 million)
- Weatherization assistance program ($210 million)
- National Park Service climate change monitoring and response ($4.5 million)
- Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($86 million)
- Green Jobs Innovation Fund ($40 million)
and that is only the tip of the proposed Republican cuts.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is requesting its largest budget since World War II with Defense Secretary Gates insisting that $553 billion price tag for 2012 is the “the minimum level of funding we can live with.” The promised cuts of $78 billion over 5 years won’t start until 2014 and 2015.
As Center for American Progress senior fellow and President Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defense Larry Korb points out, Obama’s request is “5% higher than what the Defense Department plans to spend this year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this figure is higher than at any time during the Bush years or during the Cold War.” In fact, the total military budget this year “comes in at a thumping $750 billion – an annual tax of more than $7,000 on every household in the country.” And while there are clear ways to cut $1 trillion from the Pentagon budget, it seems that many in the GOP have no intention of doing so.
Obama and the Democratic has accomplished more than either Bush or Cheney ever dreamed. They had a golden opportunity and totally wasted it. It is very possible that the economy will sink back into another recession worse than the last one.