Obama's "Balanced Approach" to Deficit Reduction Calls for $6 in Tax Hikes for Every $1 in Spending Cuts

It wasn't all that long ago that President Obama used to talk earnestly about the need for a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction. You might figure that a balanced approach would mean matching every $1 in spending cuts with a $1 in tax revenue, but Obama was actually more draconian. Last fall, he trotted out a plan that was supposed to cut $2.50 in spending for every $1 raised in new taxes.

But that was then (and, needless to say, he never spelled out any cuts). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently scored his latest deficit-reduction proposal, which theoretically cuts $1.1 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years. Here's the breakdown: 

The congressional report said to achieve his $1.1 trillion in savings over the next decade, Obama relies on $974 billion in higher revenue and $172 billion in spending cuts. That is nearly a 6-1 ratio.

Obama's major revenue-raising proposals include limiting some deductions and exclusions for some higher-earning taxpayers, raising $493 billion over the decade; boosting tobacco taxes by $83 billion; and raising estate and gift taxes by $77 billion, the budget office said.

More here.

The one good thing in Obama's budget is that he pushes for the "chained" CPI to slow the growth of Social Security payments. Unlike the House Republican and Senate Democrat budget plans, Obama at least factors in necessary (if way too timid and small) reforms of old-age entitlements that are genuinely awful and inefficient (and terribly unfair to younger Americans).

But come on: a 6-to-1 edge to taxes over spending cuts? Whatever you want to call it, that ain't balanced.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Obama's "Balanced Approach" to Deficit Reduction Calls for $6 in Tax Hikes for Every $1 in Spending Cuts

    Yeah, but when you dynamically score it, one $2 of the proposed tax increases is realized for every $4 of increased spending.

  • AlexInCT||

    Tax and spend baby, because there is no power in small government.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    CANNIBALZ!!!!!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    You mean a guy who ran his entire campaign on punishing those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevul rich people and raising taxes is saying that he wants to punish those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevul rich people and raise taxes?

    Who could have guessed?

  • sarcasmic||

    Duh! The rich obviously don't pay their fair share, evidenced by the fact that they are rich!

  • Pro Libertate||

    As long as there are people in this country with money not handed to them by the federal government, we can never be truly free.

  • AlexInCT||

    Best way to control people is when they need you to survive. Power and money to be made from that sort of serfdom. looks like we came full circle and are back to the classed society of the middle ages.

  • Virginian||

    Medieval serfs had to give about a third of their income to their lord.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Obama's story grows tiresome. I'm tapped out, bitch. So are my children.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    "Obama's "Balanced Approach" to Deficit Reduction Calls for $6 in Tax Hikes for Every $1 in Spending Cuts"

    Is that spending cuts or "spending cuts"?

  • sarcasmic||

    I could imagine using that plate for target practice after snorting a couple lines off of it.

  • Almanian!||

    Nice crosshair reference, Sarah Palincasmic!

  • Zeb||

    The stand is not included.

  • Almanian!||

    Let me be clear - there are those among us who say my approach is unbalanced, that it depends too much on taxes and not enough on spending cuts. These are the people who would rip the formula bottle from babies' mouths, throw seniors into the streets and defile our lakes and rivers with pollution from unregulated industry. And these people have offered no alternative of their own. Because they HAVE no alternative, except to say, No.

    We must deny them their vision, which would trample the rights of average Americans and drive the country to ruin. My balanced approach would do just that...God Bless America!

  • cavalier973||

    That's pretty good, but how's your Jimmy Stewart?

  • Hyperion||

    You forgot the long 'uhhhs' between every 3rd word, but besides that, perfect!

  • cavalier973||

    Isn't it? As soon as I got to the fourth word, I was automatically hearing it in Obama's voice.

  • Almanian!||

    I can see my work here is done...

  • cavalier973||

    ????

    Is this supposed to be Adam West or George Reeves?

  • Almanian!||

    Barack. HUSSEIN. Obama.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But come on: a 6-to-1 edge to taxes over spending cuts? Whatever you want to call it, that ain't balanced.

    What are you talking about? It has both taxes and cuts! What could be more balanced than that?

  • UnCivilServant||

    No taxes and all cuts? Spending less than we tax? Ooo, ooo, Abolish taxes on the invidiual and cut spending to match revenues.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Also, the spending cuts won't happen.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Oh come on, when have future cuts ever not happened?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You won't even see the reduction in budget increases that they're referring to as cuts. YOU FOOL.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    They are getting less money than they wanted. How is that not a cut?

  • Jerryskids||

    Exactly. Obama has cut and cut and cut literally trillions of dollars out of the federal budget this way. My god, the man is only human! Do you really expect him to keep thinking up imaginary cuts to imaginary budgets 24/7?

  • ||

    Hey, Charlie Brown, come kick this football.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm a linebacker or I'm nothing!

  • Bill Door||

    What do you mean? The cuts have happened and the country is falling apart because of El Sequesterniño.

  • Virginian||

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....y-melchior

    Holy shit, we're now living in a goddamn fascist state.

  • cavalier973||

    ^^

    the Occupational Safety and Health Administration paid a visit to Engelbrecht Manufacturing while Bryan, Catherine, and their children were out of town. The OSHA inspector talked with the managerial staff and employees, inspecting the premises minutely. But Bryan says the agent found only “little Mickey Mouse stuff, like, ‘You have safety glasses on, but not the right kind; the forklift has a seatbelt, but not the right kind.’” Yet Catherine and Bryan said the OSHA inspector complimented them on their tightly run shop and said she didn’t know why she had been sent to examine it.
  • cavalier973||

    Not long after, the tab arrived. OSHA was imposing $25,000 in fines on Engelbrecht Manufacturing. They eventually worked it down to $17,500, and Bryan says they may have tried to contest the fines to drive them even lower, but “we didn’t want to make any more waves, because we don’t know [how much further] OSHA could reach.”
  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    because we don’t know [how much further] OSHA could reach

    OSHA can reach pretty damn far. If they're motivated, they can find a regulation or interpretation to meet their needs. As far as safety goes, they're not that interested. Most of the time they look for the low hanging fruit to generate the fines that help to underwrite their budget.

  • cavalier973||

    On behalf of the True the Vote and King Street Patriots, Representative Ted Poe (R., Texas) sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF, inquiring whether the organizations were under criminal investigation. A statement on Poe’s website states that “the reply from these agencies was that none of these individuals were under criminal investigation. Well, if they’re not, why are they being treated like criminals? Just because they question government.”
  • ||

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find that all those alphabet agencies were conducting inspections at the request of someone high in the democratic machine. But I think it's more likely that one of their 30 employees was passive-aggressivly trying to undermine her political activities by tipping off OSHA about seat belt violations, ATF about gun parts, etc., etc. Harassment doesn't always come from above.

  • Almanian!||

    Believe me - employees know damned well which agencies can cause which pain, and they know their phone numbers.

    In all honesty, my experience over 25 years is that most agencies "get it" and have been very professional to deal with. However, we do get the odd Little Hitler who's decided only (s)he stands between my company and CHAOS!!!!111! They're no fun.

    But blessedly rare, in my experience. Now, the fact that they exist at ALL, and can do the damage they demonstrably have done to OTHERS....well....

  • WTF||

    I think it's more likely that one of their 30 employees was passive-aggressivly trying to undermine her political activities...

    Except for the fact that Barbara Boxer demanded that DOJ look into True the Vote, which seems to show that the democratic machine was in fact after them.

  • ||

    What I'm saying is the totality of her alphabet soup troubles are not likely to be caused by a single asshole such as Barbara Boxer. More likely, some other aggrieved asshole(s) is/are stirring up OSHA/ATFE trouble coincident to the True The Vote trouble.

  • Dweebston||

    The Engelbrechts were not, until recently, particularly political. They had been busy running a tiny manufacturing plant in Rosenberg, Texas.

    Well, here's your problem: sticking your nose into politics when you've something to lose at home but not enough clout with the local politicos to protect it from the national goons.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I think this is partly why attorneys and failed businessmen have always made electable politicians. They don't have anything to attack, while the successful small businessman is laying his whole life and career on the line when running for office. The risk is enormous.

  • ||

    Oh, come now. You have nothing to fear if you aren't doing anything wrong.

  • ||

    Well, that's still 3 or 4 steps away from disappearing his enemies. So there's that, I guess.

  • WTF||

    Well, as far as we know.

  • Loki||

    Holy shit, we're now living in a goddamn fascist state.

    Surely this isn't some kind of new revelation for you.

  • Virginian||

    I mean I thought the government was an equal opportunity asshole. Like sure they meddled and audited, but it was mostly nonpartisan/non ideological.

    These people are using the power of the State to punish their political enemies. It's Nazi shit, and yes I am serious. This is exactly how they started going after the Jews.

  • ||

    We have arrived! We are officially in the place the founders feared. If true, I think you can officially call this tyranny.

  • wareagle||

    of course, they use the power of the state. The Dems, that is. It's what "the chicago way" is all about. You want life as you know it to change for the bad? Get involved in politics without the appropriate benefactors and palm-greasers. That methodology has migrated to DC.

  • Zeb||

    Here's a question, possibly interesting. Do you suppose it is worse to go after people like this because of their political views or because of the ethnic group they happen to belong to. Or are they both just as bad. I can think of arguments in either direction.

  • Loki||

    Meanwhile, Catherine says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

    Sounds like it's "mission accomplished" then. It's pretty obvious that that was the whole point of all this shit. This, the IRS targeting, the AP snooping, it's all designed to stop people and the press from exercising their 1st ammendment rights.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Tedious bullshit is tedious.

  • ||

    Fucking fuck. I just saw the thing where the GOP, wasting no time in being the stupid party plans to use this scandal to push for meaningful tax reform that would shrink the powers of the IRS and flatten tax rates suspend IRS audits. Guaranteeing that a whole new round of people get fucked when audits resume. Why can't they go back to being the evil party instead of the stupid party?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I just saw the thing"

    By Jordy Yager - 05/19/13 11:16 AM ET

    The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said the unfolding IRS scandal should encourage lawmakers to press forward with overhauling the nation’s tax code.
    Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the American tax code needs to be simplified to ensure that the average person can use it.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....z2Tqil3ROJ

  • ||

    Here: It was in the 24/7 bar.

    House Republicans last week proposed legislation that would suspend the ability of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct audits until the IRS itself is audited by Congress.

    The bill, from Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), is the latest in a string of measures that have been offered in the wake of the IRS's admission it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups over the last few years. Republicans have said those activities were politically motivated and went unreported by senior Obama administration officials in the run-up to the 2012 election.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Okay, resume the false dilemma since it was in the 24/7 bar

  • CampingInYourPark||

    And add these:

    Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Michael R. Turner of Ohio, both Republicans, introduced companion bills that call for IRS employees who willfully violate the "constitutional rights of a taxpayer" to be fired and face criminal charges

    Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican, meanwhile, has dusted off a bill he initially proposed in 2011 that prohibits the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing Mr. Obama'a 2010 health care law. A Forbes spokesman said the lawmaker reintroduced the bill this week in light of the IRS scandal, which broke last Friday.

    Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican, meanwhile, has dusted off a bill he initially proposed in 2011 that prohibits the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing Mr. Obama'a 2010 health care law. A Forbes spokesman said the lawmaker reintroduced the bill this week in light of the IRS scandal, which broke last Friday.

    http://www.gopusa.com/news/201.....ck-action/

  • ||

    And this:

    Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican, meanwhile, has dusted off a bill he initially proposed in 2011 that prohibits the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing Mr. Obama'a 2010 health care law. A Forbes spokesman said the lawmaker reintroduced the bill this week in light of the IRS scandal, which broke last Friday.

  • ||

    This seems like a bullshit bill designed to make his base happy but accomplish nothing. All the IRS will do is take existing employee Smith and move him over to the new health care department. Then they'll hire Jones to do Smith's old job auditing conservatives.

  • ||

    But I may have posted it a third time to fuck with CYP, because he posted it twice...

  • ||

    MAY have? If you're gonna fuck with CYP, OWN IT!

  • ||

    But I MAY have written it that way so it looks like you figured it out on your own, rather than declaring that's what I did and thereby making you look stupid.

    But...if you insist...

    You missed my fucking joke! I was fucking with CYP because he posted the same paragraph twice...AND YOU DIDN'T GET IT!

    Consider it OWNED!

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I like my false dilemma's to be perfectly equal

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The IRS matter also inspired Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, to introduce a bill that would prohibit the IRS from receiving any funding under the health care law - major parts of which it is supposed to enforce.

  • PRX||

    how about $7 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax cuts.

  • Almanian!||

    COLLAPSE OF SOCIETY!!!11!

    WHY DO YOU HATE TRANQUILITY??!!!11!

  • UnCivilServant||

    Because Tranquility gets on my man nerves.

  • UnCivilServant||

    *damn nerves too. Like my typoes.

  • Virginian||

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Most excellent.

  • ||

  • ||

    Mother. Fucker. Cops arrest 8 for throwing water balloons as part of an end of year prank. Are you sure we can't just institute an overthrow of Cuba and found Libertopia?

  • Tim||

    Obama; "Let me be clear, the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness' were the work of low level, rogue employees and I had no knowledge of their actions until I walked into the theater just like the rest of you."

  • ||

    "And that goddamned Jar-Jar is going into the camps we don't have."

  • ||

    $172 billion in spending cuts

    Over 10 years? So in 3,650 days they would "cut" as much as they spend in 17 days?

  • Pro Libertate||

    These sacrifices weren't made without a lot of blood, toil, sweat, and tears.

  • ||

    3652 with leap years, assuming this went into effect 10/1/2013.

  • wareagle||

    It wasn't all that long ago that President Obama used to talk earnestly

    really? When exactly was all this earnest speak being heard because the evidence shows that Obama has always been a huckster whose only earnest comments are the ones targeting political opponents.

  • Ryan60657||

    " which theoretically cuts $1.1 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years."

    I consider it journalistic malpractice to list large numbers like this -- to which reader might normally react with "see, he's concerned with deficit reduction -- without at the same time telling readers what the 10-year deficit baseline is right now, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10-15 trillion?

  • ||

    You've just committed thoughtcrime; report immediately to the nearest Ministry of Love branch where you'll be instructed in the effective application of crimestop.

  • some guy||

    The federal gov't is on pace to collect more tax revenue this year than any other year in history. But Leviathan always needs MOAR!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement