The President will present his 2012 budget to Congress today. Details leaked to the press tell reveal that his budget will cut $1.1 trillion dollars from the deficit over the next ten years. Prominent are cuts in discretionary spending including education, infrastructure, and programs for the poor. Noticeably absent are major reforms in defense, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Republicans have criticized the President’s budget as not going far enough. House Speaker John Boehner said that the President’s budget “will continue to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much and taxing too much.”
Here is the truth. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are serious about cutting the deficit. Both parties are afraid that if they propose the cuts to entitlements and defense that everyone knows are necessary they risk losing their jobs. So both sides nibble around the edges and toss around political rhetoric designed to deflect blame and change the subject.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obama’s budget will not reduce the deficit but rather increase it by $7 trillion dollars and more than $12 trillion if the current tax cuts are extended.
Republicans, who campaigned small government and promised drastic, substantive cuts in spending have offered a paltry $50 billion in spending cuts that are so week they don’t merit discussion.
Democrats and Republicans are playing a game of chicken. Each side is waiting for the other to address the elephant in the room so they can demagogue the subject for political gain. They are whistling past the graveyard as the country plummets toward economic Armageddon.
So when will the White House and Congress seriously tackle defense, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? 2013! That is if Obama wins re-election in 2012 and no longer faces the prospect of running again.