The national debt is like the weather. Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. Nobody who CAN do something about it, that is. Reactions to President Obama’s proposed $3.83 trillion budget, which is projected to add $8.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade, prove that point, and can be summed up in a few words in this McClatchy article:
“Complicating the debt reduction picture is the desire by members of both parties to preserve what they see as important local programs, as well as to give themselves something to boast about in this election year.”
A few examples:
“There really isn’t anything in this budget which I can take home or talk about in favorable terms with respect to coal when I want to.” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.”
“Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., criticized Army Corps of Engineers funding. The Howard Hanson dam has been getting weaker and may not be able to control flooding in the Green River Valley, south of Seattle, she said.”
“Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent..wanted the president’s proposed three-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending to be extended to the Pentagon..[White House Budget Director Peter] Orszag said that wouldn’t be practical; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., agreed…”Because the nation is at war, we need to have more flexibility,” Warner said.”
One would think that a defense budget equal to the rest of the world’s military spending combined might have room for cuts somewhere. I guess one would be wrong.
OK, no defense cuts. What about entitlements?
“Orszag, who showed no emotion during his testimony, calmly said that Obama had a long-term plan to reduce the deficits, notably an as-yet un-appointed bipartisan commission to recommend remedies…Any commission recommendations also would have to be approved by Congress, where expected recommendations to cut the future costs of popular programs such as Social Security and Medicare and to raise taxes would face stiff resistance…There’s also no assurance that Congress will agree to a commission that has clout.”
So let’s review. Everybody in D.C. wants to reduce the debt and cut spending, but:
They won’t cut Defense.
They won’t cut entitlements.
They can’t stop paying interest on the debt.
They won’t cut any discretionary spending because it’s all somebody’s pet project or program.
They won’t raise taxes.