Willful ignorance is bliss. Republicans will refuse to read factual information because it puts into context the fact that their policies unsustainable.
Willful ignorance can generally be ignored. When it comes to the survival of a nation it is evil. When it materially hurts the middle class it is evil. When it runs the real risk of creating a real death panel for not only grandma but every middle class American, it is evil.
As it turns out, President Obama is not even close to being the big spender the Republicans have been expounding. In fact his big spending causation is mostly for the irresponsible and catastrophic state supply side economics have left the country in.
The Myth of Obama’s Big Spending
NEW YORK – Does the president really suffer from what House Speaker John Boehner calls a “spending illness”? Not according to an exclusive Newsweek-Daily Beast estimate of his outlays on new legislation since taking office.
Nothing unites Republicans quite like the unshakable belief that Barack Obama has become the Carrie Bradshaw of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, unable to stop himself from frittering away ridiculous sums of money on frivolous things. But what Republicans never mention when railing against Obama’s alleged fiscal recklessness is how much money he has spent, and what exactly he’s spent it on.
Obama has slashed one tax dollar for every dollar he’s spent on government programs.
To rectify the situation, Newsweek and The Daily Beast have come up with an exclusive estimate of the amount the president has spent on new legislation since taking office in January 2009. This isn’t the sum total of all government outlays; that number would include spending on mandatory entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which no president can control, as well as spending on income-support programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, which automatically increases as citizens get poorer (i.e., during a recession). Instead, we focused on the times when Obama decided to spend money that wouldn’t have been spent if the government had simply been humming along on autopilot.
What we—along with the economic analyst Loren Adler at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded in 2007 by Republicans Howard Baker and Bob Dole and Democrats Tom Daschle and George Mitchell—found may surprise people who see Obama as the Big Spender in Chief. Over the last two years, the president has decided to “spend” $21 billion more on tax cuts—the GOP’s preferred policy response to, well, everything—than on government programs.
The math isn’t particularly complicated. So far, the Obama administration has pushed for six major, immediate spending increases that aren’t offset elsewhere in the budget: the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (aka “the stimulus package”), which had a 2009-10 price tag of $340 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office; the GM/Chrysler bailout and other portions of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which have largely been paid back ($25 billion); unemployment-insurance extensions ($67 billion); COBRA extensions ($9 billion); Cash for Clunkers ($3 billion); and loans to automakers for energy-efficiency improvements ($8 billion). That’s $452 billion. Factor in $296 billion in stimulus funds that have yet to be spent and $136 billion in refundable tax credits that passed in December as part of Congress’ bipartisan tax compromise, and you wind up with $884 billion on the spending side of the equation.
That’s a hefty sum of money. But here’s the interesting thing: Obama’s tax cuts have been even bigger. The first of them, $238 billion in cuts for taxpayers and businesses, came as part of the stimulus package. The second portion, $721 billion worth, arrived in December, again as part of Congress’ bipartisan tax compromise. Subtract $54 billion in forthcoming stimulus-related tax hikes, and you’ve got a grand total of $905 billion in tax cuts. In other words, Obama has slashed one tax dollar for every dollar he’s spent on government programs.
(One yet-to-be-implemented program worth considering: Obama’s new health-reform law. In March 2010, the CBO estimated that “Obamacare” would produce a 10-year spendin
g increase of approximately $250 billion and a tax increase of slightly more than $400 billion, totals that will tilt the equilibrium between Obama’s spending and tax cutting toward the former in future years. The CBO also estimated that the new law will reduce the deficit by $118 billion over the same period.)