Obama's Budgetary Sleight of Hand
By David Henderson
President Obama Double Counts
Now, I’m proposing real, serious cuts in spending. When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history. But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced — a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else.
Did you notice Obama’s opening of the second sentence? I didn’t, until Keith Hennessey pointed it out. “When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law.” So Obama is double counting by including cuts that are already part of the law.
Hennessey proceeds to do marginal analysis: He considers the combination of tax increases, tax cuts, spending increases, and spending cuts that Obama now proposes. He points out also that the spending “cuts” are actually reductions in the rate of growth of spending. The result? Obama’s new proposal for the next 10 years is for net tax increases of $1.28 trillion (tax increases of $1.534 trillion minus payroll tax cuts of $254 billion) and net spending cuts of a measly $86 billion.