Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Phony Budget Tricks to "lessen deficits"..
Although the freeze would shave no more than $15 billion off next year's budget -- barely denting a deficit projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third year in a row -- White House officials said it could save significantly more during the next decade. They described the freeze as a critical component of a broader deficit-reduction campaign intended to restore confidence in Obama's ability to control the excesses of Washington and the most lavish aspirations of his own administration. "You can't afford to do everything that you might have always wanted to do. That's the decision-making process that the president and the economic team went through," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the speech the president will deliver on Wednesday night. "We're not here to tell you that we've solved the deficit. But you have to take steps to control spending." The spending freeze would affect only about one-eighth of the nation's $3.5 trillion budget, the bulk of which is devoted to entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are responsible for much of the future increase in spending. It would not restrain funding for the $787 billion economic stimulus package Obama pushed through Congress early last year, nor would it apply to a new bill aimed at creating jobs, which Democrats have identified as their top priority in the run-up to November's congressional elections. It is also unlikely to affect the approximately $900 billion health-care bill, which has been on life-support since the Massachusetts vote. (Washington Post, 1/26)