Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Few Trillion Dollars is Missing. Please Call If You Find It.


The White House released its proposed Fiscal 2013 budget yesterday. In the Budget Message of the President, Obama states, "Together with the deficit reduction I signed into law this past year, this Budget will cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade." The deficit reduction he signed into law this past year refers to a $1 trillion cut from the Budget Control Act of 2011, so according to Obama this budget results in an additional $3 trillion in cuts. That is impressive. But I just can't find it.

The tables below show the cumulative five and ten (when available) projected federal government receipts, outlays and deficits for the F08 through F13 proposed budgets. The F08 budget 5 year projection is the cumulative projected receipts, outlays and deficits for fiscal years 2008 through 2012, F09 from fiscal years 2009 through 2013 and so on.

President Obama says he was left a "projected 10-year deficit of more than $8 trillion." (The only way to get to $8 trillion is to take the F10 budget and time shift the projection one-year backward, only one of the many dishonest aspects of the President's message, but I digress). This suggests the F10 budget wasn't his, a common assertion made by the Obama apologists. It's an odd claim to make, since he submitted the budget to Congress and he signed the bill. I do agree his options were limited for the F10 budget, but for God's sake, Man Up Mr. President.

But I digress. Where the heck is the $4 trillion dollars of deficit reduction? It's gone missing! The fiscal 2010 budget, (which although submitted by Obama and signed by Obama is not Obama's) had a ten-year projected cumulative deficit of close to $7 trillion. The fiscal 2011 budget, which presumably was Obama's, was even worse, with a ten-year projected cumulative deficit of $8.5 trillion. So at best, Obama has lowered the deficit to $6.7 trillion, a $1.3 trillion reduction from his fiscal 2011 proposal, and only $300 billion from the budget he "inherited."

The spending tables also belie the tale about fiscal responsibility coming from the White House. Remember, the Fiscal 2010 budget, the budget Obama inherited, was called "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise." Five-year projected cumulative spending in fiscal 2010 was $18.8 trillion and the ten year at $42.2 trillion. After painful and hard choices were made, the fiscal 2013 budget calls for 5 year cumulative spending of $20.6 trillion and ten-year spending at $47 trillion.

All politicians play games with language about cuts and hard choices. But the scale and scope of this President is unprecedented.


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