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Obama says he'll 'check under the cushions.' But neither he nor his allies on Capitol Hill have initiated any net reductions in spending since last fall's election. Not once.



Do President Obama and Democrats want to cut spending? There's not much evidence they do. They have acquiesced to some cuts—but only under political duress.

The importance of the spending issue escalated last Thursday with the start of budget negotiations between Democrats and Republicans under the direction of Vice President Joe Biden. The 2012 budget, an increase in the debt limit, and long-term reform of entitlements are all on the table.

The parties have very different goals. While Republicans want a cap on spending, Democrats favor a ceiling on the deficit. The distinction is significant. A spending cap is straightforward. But a cap on the deficit can be satisfied by raising taxes, which Democrats prefer.

To be sure, Mr. Obama frequently pays lip service to tackling spending. "We've got to comb through the budget and find every dime of savings that we can," he said at a town hall meeting last month in Reno. "We'll check under the cushions. Any program that's not working, we need to eliminate."

But neither the White House nor congressional Democrats have initiated any net reductions in spending. Not once since the election. Their strategy is to defer to Republicans, then denounce whatever cuts Republicans come up with.

In February, for example, the Republican-controlled House approved $61 billion in cuts from a $3.7 trillion budget of 2011 spending with a projected deficit of $1.6 trillion. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the cuts "reckless."

Mr. Reid then turned around and claimed to have proposed $41 billion in cuts himself. How so? The $41 billion was the difference between what Mr. Obama had called for in his never-enacted 2011 budget and what was actually spent. The "Fact Checker" of the Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, dismissed Mr. Reid's claim. "He's talking about cutting spending that never happened."

Then, after Democrats reluctantly agreed to a mere $10 billion in cuts over the next five weeks, Senate Appropriations Committee Daniel Inouye professed outrage. "How much before we have to cancel the construction of dams, bridges, highways, levees, sewers, and transit projects and throw thousands of private-sector workers onto the street?" he said.

The reality is that since the November midterm election—when voters expressed their displeasure with the pace of government spending—Democrats have had eight openings to initiate cuts. Let's review the record.

The Democrats' first opportunity was during the lame-duck session of Congress in December. Senate Democrats sought to boost 2011 spending—fiscal 2011 had begun the previous September—by $19 billion. Their bill was studded with earmarks and pork-barrel expenditures. But it wasn't until Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lined up Republican votes to block the measure that Democrats gave up. Spending in 2011 remained frozen at the 2010 level.

The second chance for spending cuts came in February when Mr. Obama unveiled his 2012 budget. The president said he had made "tough choices" but avoided "symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the recovery." His budget (now superseded) would have increased spending by $41 billion.

The third chance (mentioned above) came a few days later when the House voted to cut $61 billion from 2011 spending. Senate Democrats responded with roughly $4 billion in cuts. Both proposals lost in the Senate, but the $61 billion plan got more votes than the Democratic alternative.

In early March, Democrats had a fourth opportunity when the government's stopgap authority to spend—known as a "continuing resolution"—was due to expire, threatening a government shutdown. Mr. Reid attacked the Republican response to cut $2 billion while extending spending for two weeks as "reckless." But he grudgingly agreed to it.

Democrats soon had another shot at getting in front with a spending plan for the remainder of fiscal 2011. They hung back. When the House attached $6 billion in cuts to a three-week extension, Democrats again went on the attack. They made no counteroffer. Eventually they went along with the Republican cuts, missing their fifth opening.

At this point, Democrats saw they were losing the 2011 spending battle piecemeal. They abandoned any hope of a spending freeze. A freeze, by the way, isn't a cut. They settled with Republicans for $38 billion. This was the sixth opportunity they failed to seize.

In April, Mr. Obama acted, involuntarily. His 2012 budget had been widely bashed, even by his supporters in the media. The president presented a new plan that he said imposed twice in spending cuts what it would collect in tax increases. The reverse is closer to the truth, though Mr. Obama was so vague that it's impossible to know. Another opening to propose a series of major cuts—No. 7—was wasted.

The Democrats' eighth opportunity involves the debt limit. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insists it must be raised by early August or the government will be forced into defaulting on its debt. He, Mr. Obama and Democrats have called for a "clean bill," one without spending cuts or caps attached. They've lost that argument. The question now is how much to concede to Republicans on spending to ensure an increase in the debt limit. In any case, they've failed to take the initiative.

If Democrats' hostility to spending cuts wasn't clear from these episodes, it comes through in every speech Mr. Obama makes. He talks enthusiastically and at greater length about "investments" he intends to "protect" or "preserve." On the need for cuts, he sounds grim and apologetic.

In revising his 2012 budget, the president proposed a clever mechanism for avoiding spending cuts. He called it a "debt fail-safe." If the debt burden doesn't shrink as a percentage of the economy, it would require "additional savings with more spending cuts." Except that as much as 90% of spending would be exempt, leaving little room for cuts and lots for raising taxes.

The response of the president and Democrats to the message from the November election is now pretty clear. The voters asked for spending cuts. Mr. Obama and company have said no.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100...6305332480567882.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
 

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We are a nation that gives lip service to spending cuts, but only if they affect someone else. The Dems know that spending cuts make certain constituencies angry, and they aren't willing to buck those groups. They would rather the Pubs do the recommending so that they can frame them as the Grinches who stole the government check. This is leading us down the road to financial ruin, but Obama is sitting on a 51.6 approval rating. Why would he change now?:down:
 

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How can anybody expect the "Dems" or "closet Dems" (Republicans) to suggest cutting spending when they both believe the rich have money they have not given up yet? Look at the people just on this forum that totaly believe the oil companys right now are making too much money? (remember the government makes more money on a gallon of gas than the oil companies do):crazy:
 

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The only way to make the system work is to make everybody pay the same amount of tax as everyone else. That means welfare recipients, Donald Trump, the blinged-out ghetto drug dealer, and the guy down the block working 'off the books'.

Will that ever happen? No effing way! There'd be too many professional politians, accountants, and lawyers out of work.

Want to know what's wrong with the country? Look at the professions running it...it's the same group you find everywhere, and they game the system to thier advantage...they wil do so until they can't anymore...
 

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This is why I believe a national wide 23% sales tax on everything you buy is perfect. Get rid of all the other taxes and just have this one. Considering we are a nation of consumers it should work very well and everyone would pay taxes. There will be no longer people getting paid under the table and even those illegal immigrants will have to pay the tax when they buy something.
 

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This is why I believe a national wide 23% sales tax on everything you buy is perfect. Get rid of all the other taxes and just have this one. Considering we are a nation of consumers it should work very well and everyone would pay taxes. There will be no longer people getting paid under the table and even those illegal immigrants will have to pay the tax when they buy something.
:thumbsup:
 

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This is why I believe a national wide 23% sales tax on everything you buy is perfect. Get rid of all the other taxes and just have this one. Considering we are a nation of consumers it should work very well and everyone would pay taxes. There will be no longer people getting paid under the table and even those illegal immigrants will have to pay the tax when they buy something.
I supported the fairtax, until I realized that these crooked SOB's would keep it at 23% for about 3 minutes. We don't need any kind of direct tax..

The wealth confiscation act known as the 16th amendment, was promised to stay at 1%.. you see how well that worked. Don't buy into any of the scams, this country made is over 200 years without permanent direct taxation.. and we damns ure don't need a private bank in control of our currency..
 

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I supported the fairtax, until I realized that these crooked SOB's would keep it at 23% for about 3 minutes. We don't need any kind of direct tax..

The wealth confiscation act known as the 16th amendment, was promised to stay at 1%.. you see how well that worked. Don't buy into any of the scams, this country made is over 200 years without permanent direct taxation.. and we damns ure don't need a private bank in control of our currency..
Unfortunately I can't argue against that logic. I just know something has to be done and that is what I feel would be best for the country. The 16th Amendment actually was 3% when it first started to raise income for the Civil War, but that point is mute since I understand the essence of what you are saying. I just find it unfair, I am working 84 hours a week in a hostile country to make a living that I choose and help my mother as much as I can while people can sit on their asses and collect welfare, living better then her and I get taxed quite heavily for the choice.
 

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Unfortunately I can't argue against that logic. I just know something has to be done and that is what I feel would be best for the country. The 16th Amendment actually was 3% when it first started to raise income for the Civil War, but that point is mute since I understand the essence of what you are saying. I just find it unfair, I am working 84 hours a week in a hostile country to make a living that I choose and help my mother as much as I can while people can sit on their asses and collect welfare, living better then her and I get taxed quite heavily for the choice.
That is because you are an evil rich person who won life's lottery.
 

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How can anybody expect the "Dems" or "closet Dems" (Republicans) to suggest cutting spending when they both believe the rich have money they have not given up yet? Look at the people just on this forum that totaly believe the oil companys right now are making too much money? (remember the government makes more money on a gallon of gas than the oil companies do):crazy:


Absophuckinglutely !!!
 
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