Thursday, 07 May 2009

Obama Budget: Spend Big, Cut Little

Written by  Ann Shibler

The 2010 fiscal budget proposal from the White House forecasts spending $3.9 trillion during the current fiscal year, as compared to $3.0 trillion last year, and it calls for spending $3.6 trillion in fiscal 2010. By comparison, the Obama administration's proposed cuts — which amount to around $17 billion thus far — are miniscule.

With the American people clearly angry over this country’s ballooning deficit, the White House is attempting to paint a rosy picture by pointing to 121 individual cuts that total $17 billion, described as not being “chump change,” by budget director Peter Orszag. And while $17 billion, objectively, is a lot of money, keep in mind that the federal government spends $100 million every 13 minutes of every hour of every day, and that $17 billion is one half of one percent of the $3.6 trillion total budget.

One item being eliminated from the budget is the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which gives federal money, $400 million, to states to assist with the cost of incarcerating criminal illegal immigrants. Another item that has already been eliminated as of April 1 is the $632,000 — salary, Paris apartment, expenses, education costs for children, etc. — for the Education Department attache position in Paris.

The LORAN-C aircraft navigation system, obsolete due to GPS but still receiving $35 million a year from the budget is apt to be eliminated. No new students will be allowed into the $12.2 million a year Washington, D.C.-only private-school voucher system that currently serves 1,700 students. And by stopping payment to states for cleaning up abandoned mines another $142 million will not be thrown into the ground.

However, Obama, whose collective proposals are the size of a large phone book, is calling for $1.25 million in new funds to award black farmers who claim to have been denied help by the Agriculture Department on the grounds of racism. An additional $63 billion (this alone offsets the $17 billion in cuts three times over) would be used for a health initiative in Third World countries (while advocating a plan leading to rationing healthcare for Americans). The president also wants an additional $130 million for military operations that are escalating in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given the present increased activity in the Middle East, some say it’s far too little and more will have to be called for later on.

While details were not available at the time of this posting, Obama, who is said to be busy looking for ways to cut  more waste, is also proposing huge increases in education spending, and for a controversial environmental initiative that would force reductions of carbon-dioxide emissions to combat the unproven anthropogenic global warming theory.

Hailing $17 billion in cuts while adding much more than that to a budget is not exactly a belt-tightening exercise or fiscally responsible. House Republican leader John Boehner spotted this, prompting him to say, “While we appreciate the newfound attention to saving taxpayer dollars from this administration, we respectfully suggest that we should do far more.”

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