Schock, Aaron


The Barack Obama Budget – A Legacy our Country can’t Afford

Washington, Feb 21 -

The Barack Obama Budget – A Legacy our Country can’t Afford
By Congressman Aaron Schock

This week, President Obama introduced his budget blueprint for the next 10 years. As the documents were released and the hearings began in the House and Senate one theme stood out – the President has introduced an unserious budget that carries with it serious consequences.

Earlier this month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the federal government’s budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion for 2012, the fourth year in a row. The introduction of President Obama’s budget this week confirms this nightmare, yet his budget does nothing to show he is serious about addressing our debt crisis. 

Since January 2009, when President Obama took office, the debt has risen from $10.63 trillion to $15.4 trillion. Should our country choose to follow the President’s released spending plan, by 2022 the U.S. will reach $25.9 trillion in accumulated debt. By that point, we would be paying nearly $1 trillion in interest alone.  The U.S. is already borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends and that amount is only expected to increase.

Since taking office, he has advocated for the same policies over and again. If consistency were currency the president just might have a chance at wiping out our debt. More increased taxes, more spending, more borrowing and more deficits. The President continues to claim that the problem with our debt could be solved if the wealthy would pay more taxes.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, if we taxed all household income over $250,000 at 100% - it would not compensate for this year’s deficit.  The President knows better. He is disingenuous at best.

Despite these facts, the president’s budget contains $1.9 trillion in new taxes, and $47 trillion in government spending over the next decade, which means the president is projecting to spend more, not less over the next decade. The President’s deficit-reduction claims seek to take credit for over $2 trillion in savings that were the result of a debt-limit deal passed last year by Congress over the President’s objections. In addition, he claims to “cut” spending by $850 billion by not having wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hardly honest budgeting. 

The math simply doesn’t add up to any real deficit reduction when you consider the facts. 

Last year, the House was the only chamber to pass a budget. We have been waiting on the Senate to do the same for over 1,000 days. Our plan would have put our country on a more sustainable fiscal path. With a new majority, the House curbed spending and brought attention to a debt crisis that is a national issue – a crisis that is preventing private sector investment and stifling growth in the U.S. economy. However, we need a willing partner in the Senate. That Chamber has made the political calculation that offering no budget is better than one which would outline their massive spending priorities for the next 10 years. Simply put, this is a dereliction of their duty to the American people.

Next month, Republican’s in the House will release our own budget. It will again offer bold solutions to curb short-term deficit spending and offer proposals to address the long-term drivers of our debt - our entitlement programs. Right now, Medicare is on track to run out of money in 2024 and Social Security is projected to do the same by 2036. By choosing the strategy of the ostrich, the president is signaling to everyone that he isn’t serious about ensuring that these programs are sustainable for retiring baby boomers and future generations. His strategy aims to hurt the very people he claims to protect: the middle class.  With both programs out of money in less than 25 years – current law states that current retirees will have drastic cuts to their Social Security and Medicare benefits.  House budget will address these challenges head on and offer responsible solutions to save these programs from fiscal insolvency. The reality is that if we do nothing every dollar we collect in tax revenue will go towards funding these programs in 2045

At the behest of House Republicans, the government cut spending last year and for the first time since World War II we spent less than the previous year. We have enacted legislation which cuts spending even further for 2012.  Our work is just beginning and the budget is an area where we can have the largest positive impact on improving the health of our economy.

These problems can be fixed. It will take tough decisions and it will take leadership. Both are possible, the House will show again that it can be done. The President and Senate need to join with us.