The Congressional Budget Office came out with their analysis of President Obama's 2013 budget proposal a few days ago, and while I was reading through it, I thought I remembered a promise that candidate Obama had made a few years ago, regarding cutting deficits. Turns out a ton of other political observers were coming to the same conclusions, all pointing to a pledge made back in February of 2009.
"Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office," Obama said. "Now, this will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control."
Is Obama keeping that promise? In a word, no.
Keeping his end of this particular promise would have been difficult, as he stated in the above quote. Frankly I would bet that he knew he didn't mean the words when he was saying them, but while we can never know whether that's true or not, his budget proves that he doesn't care that he's breaking the promise, and doesn't care about leaving "our children with a debt that they cannot repay". His budget shows him to be the same sort of self serving, Washington politician that have gotten us to where we are now.
The year Obama make that pledge, the budget deficit topped out at around $1.4 trillion. Because of a lackluster economy, and a combination of more spending and tax cuts, only came down to $1.3 trillion the last two years. Now that the economy is growing at a healthier clip, you'd think that Obama would at least TRY to make some symbolic attempt at making some of those "difficult decisions", face some of those "challenges we've long neglected". You'd be wrong though.
If Obama got what he asked for in his latest budget, he'd have missed his mark by about 85 percent. Not only that, but Obama's proposal makes the problem worse that it would be without any changes. The deficit is projected to be $81 billion less if current law is allowed to stay in place, meaning Obama's proposals actually go out of their way to make the problem worse.
A lot of things would be different in Washington if it were a city controlled by two parties who were ruled by common sense, but among them is the idea that you would work to start shrinking deficits once an economy that you spent piles of money on stimulating is back to creating jobs.
You wouldn't go out and slash the budget like some Republicans say they'd do if they could (although history tells us those promises are likely to be as empty as Obama's have turned out to be), that's likely to slow down the but you'd start trimming in some places, and overall make sure that government spending grows slower than growth in revenue. Reaching that 50 percent cut in deficit spending would have been very difficult, but any sort of honest attempt could have gotten us to 25 percent or a third.