President Obama unveiled his budget for Fiscal Year 2013 on Monday and threw down the gauntlet to Republicans, daring them to oppose his idea of “fairness” in an election year — ideas that, as he will frame the debate, will no doubt be popular with many Americans. Indeed, as CNN’s Alan Silverleib points out in his analysis, “It’s all about election year 2012, not fiscal year 2013.”
It is an extraordinary document. Not because it has a ghost of a chance of becoming law, but because it reveals themes and issues the president plans to run on in the fall, while exposing the rancid nature of Obama’s redistributionist ideas: taking, taking – and then taking some more — from those who produce and create the nation’s wealth and jobs all in the name of a cynically dishonest notion of “fairness.”
It is also extraordinary because in a year that the administration projects the government will run a deficit of $901 billion dollars (a rosy scenario considering Obama has yet to come anywhere close to achieving his deficit goals), the president is proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending. In essence, Mr. Obama is not taxing producers in an effort to slow the runaway spending and deficits his policies have caused. He is going to use those new found revenues in a bid to buy votes by divvying up the extra cash among favored constituencies.
Obama said his budget would “renew the American values of fair play and shared responsibility.” But how does he square that with the “values” of the president and his party where cronyism, political favoritism, and corruption dominate the landscape? How does the president get away with talking about “fair play” and “playing by the same rules” when his party continuously demonstrates a predilection for favoring groups based not on merit, but on the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their sexual preference, their gender, and their affiliation – or not – with a union? It is this kind of hypocrisy that permeates this budget document and makes the president’s calls for “fairness” ring hollow.
His spending “cuts” included in the budget do not touch entitlements, forcing the nation’s defense to take the brunt of the cutbacks. The defense budget will fall 4%. In practical terms, it means slashing eight Army combat brigades, six Marine Corps battalions and 11 fighter squadrons, and will start to pull two Army brigades out of Europe.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy becomes a huge winner, increasing its budget a whopping 41% — mostly to fund Obama’s green energy fiascoes. The Department of Justice makes out a big loser, with its budget falling 15%. But it is where the cuts will be made that will rile Republicans. The president proposes to massively cut a program that reimburses states and cities for jailing illegal immigrants for committing crimes. Funding would fall from $240 million to just $70 million.
The Hispanic vote is vital to his re-election and allowing illegal aliens who have committed crimes out on bail or to simply disappear will no doubt sit well with liberal Latino groups who have been agitating against enforcing any of the nation’s immigration laws.
For some reason, the president is proposing a big increase for the Commerce Department. This useless federal bureaucracy will get a $10 billion gift “to help build an interoperable public safety broadband network.” Critics point out that the government has already spent $13 billion on radio equipment since 2001 and that a public auction of frequencies — ostensibly to recover the costs of the program — won’t realize nearly enough to pay for it.
Agency after agency, department after department, will see new spending. For the Department of Transportation, a pork-laden, five-year $476 billion highway bill and a $50 billion “infusion” for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. Did we mention the $47 billion for high speed rail? Such trivialities are an asterisk in this budget.
Foreign aid gets a boost, including $800 million for the “Arab Spring.” The president wants to create a “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund” — explained in the budget document as a fund that “will provide incentives for long-term economic, political, and trade reforms to countries in transition — and to countries prepared to make reforms proactively.” Analysts are unsure if this is “new money” or simply collecting cash from other programs and placing it in a fund with a new name.
No comment yet from the Muslim Brotherhood whether Shariah finance rules will allow them to participate in the “incentives for reform” in economic, political, and trade matters.
Meanwhile, Medicare and Medicaid spending continues its unsustainable pace, rising 9% in FY2013. The administration is claiming $360 billion in savings as a result of paying doctors and hospitals less for Medicare services — the old “doc fix” that is added to HHS budgets every year and is shot down every year by Congress and the AMA.
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