White House spokesman Jay Carney opened a media conference call on the President’s proposed budget then Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) took over then answered questions.
Obama’s budget proposal would reduce the deficit to $901 billion. He inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from George W. Bush. Republican Presidents have been responsible for 82% of our national deficit. The White House, in this call, called on Congress to address the looming budget deficit act currently looming as the result of inaction last fall. The agreement to which Obama caved last summer in a desperate deal to save the country from defaulting on its obligations would have devastating effects.
The President wants to invest #376 billion in short term spending to expand the economy. This includes extending the payroll tax cut, build infrastructure including broadband, give businesses investment tax credits for capital projects and other measures. I hate th epayroll tax cut. For the first time in history it means part of Social Security is being funded by general tax revenues thus, for the first time, meaning the social safety net is contributing to the deficit. This is only because the amount workers and employers are paying into the system is being cut to stimulate economic growth. There are other, better ways to do this without providing Social Security’s opponents ammunition for eliminating it.
He also wants to eliminate the Bush/Obama tax cuts for the rich and redirect defense spending from the wars into infrastructure investment. Republicans have spent billions of tax dollars building infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan while refusing to do so stateside. With crumbling roads, bridges, an ancient electrical grid, desperate needs for water and sewage systems and airport expansion along with the need for high speed rail it is time for conservatives to invest in America for once. This would also create good, well paying middle class jobs for those desperate for employment.
The cut of $476 billion over ten years for the Pentagon is really only a drop in the bucket. The DOD budget grew from about $350 billion twelve years ago to upward of $800 billion because of Bush’s wars of choice and waste. There is no rational need for such lavish spending in a time of austerity and few real strategic threats. There is no longer a strategic mission in Afghanistan for instance. Bin Laden is dead.
We must rethink this mentality that cutting spending will expand the economy. It has the exact opposite effect. Americans are desperate for jobs and are sick and tired of losing their homes, seeing criminal bankers go free and of not having health care. The country faces major challenges and it is up to good government to assist everyone not only the rich and powerful.