The Patriot PostDigest
Friday, February 5, 2010 The Foundation "[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson
Government & Politics The Leftist Vision for Government As we noted last week1, Barack Obama is now paying lip service to fiscal conservatism by calling for a "freeze" on federal spending in the face of huge deficits. Yet the freeze would apply to only a small fraction of spending and save a measly $15 billion -- and not until 2011. With Monday's budget release, in which outlays will reach $3.72 trillion for fiscal 2010 and $3.83 trillion in 2011, this political posturing becomes all the more disingenuous.
While the projected deficit will hit a record $1.56 trillion this year and a cumulative $5.08 trillion over the next five years, spending will reach 25.4 percent of GDP this year, a post-World War II record. The phony freeze simply sets a new floor for government largesse -- a floor that's nearly 30 percent higher than in 2008.
The Wall Street Journal2 reports, "Despite talk of 'tough choices' in [Monday's] document, the Administration wants $25 billion in new spending for states for Medicaid, $100 billion for yet another jobs 'stimulus,' big boosts in spending for low-income family programs, for health research, heating assistance and education." Additionally, the budget moves Pell Grants out of the "discretionary" spending column and into the permanent entitlement one at a cost of $307 billion over 10 years.
To finance this growth in government, including the assumption that ObamaCare and cap-n-tax become law, the budget includes nearly $2 trillion in tax increases over the next decade. Yet Obama had the gall in his SOTU to declare, "Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes." Characteristically, the budget drops one of these cuts after 2012 -- the $400 payroll tax credit.
When Congress repeals the Bush tax cuts and returns the top rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, Obama's budget will increase taxes by $1 trillion for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning $250,000. The 33 percent rate would also rise to 36 percent. Capital gains and dividends would be taxed at 20 percent, up from 15 percent now. Some deductions for higher wage earners would also be reduced. Yet the Obama budget would extend the Bush tax cuts for singles and couples under the $200,000/$250,000 threshold. With this, we suppose, would come a grudging admission that the Bush tax cuts benefited everyone.
Obama's class warfare and targeted tax increases are outrageous, to say the least. Many of those so-called "wealthy" people who he thinks can spare a dime are small business owners and entrepreneurs who will now be unable to hire that additional employee because of higher taxes.
These are just a few examples of the appalling items in the new budget. Our primary objections, however, are rooted not in numbers but in the nation's founding ideals. Most of the present federal budget is extraconstitutional. Provisions for Medicaid, jobs, family programs, health research, heating assistance and education -- all items mentioned above -- are nowhere to be found in the Constitution.
For someone like Obama, for whom everything begins and ends with government, the Constitution is little more than parchment under glass. He repeatedly asserts "that Washington is the answer to everything," writes columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan3. In his SOTU, she adds, "The people are good but need guidance -- from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed -- by Washington. Washington can 'make sure consumers ... have the information they need to make financial decisions.' Washington must 'make investments,' 'create' jobs, increase 'production' and 'efficiency.'"
While he was California Governor, Ronald Reagan4 said, "This is the issue [at hand]: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."
The budget is further proof that Obama and the Democrats think that they can spend your money and plan your life better than you can. That's the antithesis of liberty.