Government Spending

'It's Easy to Cut the Deficit in Half After You've Quadrupled It'

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The Washington Post explains why President Obama should not have too much trouble keeping his promise to cut the federal budget deficit in half by the end of his first term:

Republicans and some budget analysts noted that this highly touted goal is not particularly ambitious: This year's budget deficit [$1.75 trillion under Obama's fiscal plan] is bloated by spending on the stimulus package and various financial-sector bailouts, expenses unlikely to be repeated in future years. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently predicted that the deficit could be halved by 2013 merely by winding down the war in Iraq and allowing some of the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration to expire in 2011, as Obama has proposed. That alone would cut the deficit to $715 billion, according to the CBO.

"It's easy to cut the deficit in half after you've quadrupled it," said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "The end of the recession, the drawdown of Iraq spending and the end of temporary stimulus spending will by itself cut the deficit in half."

Regarding the $2 trillion in "savings" Obama said "we have already identified" (which I discussed yesterday), the Post notes that "about half the money comes in the form of tax increases," while "a large chunk of the rest comes from measuring Obama's plans against an unrealistic scenario in which the Iraq war costs $170 billion a year indefinitely."

[Thanks to John Thacker for the link.]

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  1. I will gladly play you never for billions and billions of hamburgers today.

  2. Tricky. Tricky, tricky, tricky. So it’s sorta like saying that within 4 years spending will be cut by 50%. Clever.

  3. ….comes from measuring Obama’s plans against an unrealistic scenario..

    Obama uses unrealistic scenarios? Why didn’t someone tell me!!

  4. I know some will argue with me but keep in mind government book keeping.

  5. ‘It’s Easy to Cut the Deficit in Half After You’ve Quadrupled It’

    Yeah, you’d think so wouldn’t you. I’ll lay you even money it doesn’t happen by 2012. Unless of course the Republicans take over congress in 2010.

  6. Unless of course the Republicans take over congress in 2010.

    Oh is that when they finally decide to start practicing what they preach? Republicans = no credibility on deficits.

  7. expenses unlikely to be repeated in future years

    Wanna bet?

  8. Oh is that when they finally decide to start practicing what they preach? Republicans = no credibility on deficits.

    oh, they don’t have to practice what they preach. all they have to do is say that they are going to practice what they preach.

  9. This year’s budget deficit [$1.75 trillion under Obama’s fiscal plan] is bloated by spending on the stimulus package and various financial-sector bailouts, expenses unlikely to be repeated in future years.

    That strikes me as optimistic, given that we have Porkulus II teed up right now in an omnibus spending bill, and Pelosi is hard at work on Porkulus III for this summer.

    Regarding the $2 trillion in “savings” Obama said “we have already identified” (which I discussed yesterday), the Post notes that “about half the money comes in the form of tax increases,”

    Ah, yes. The eternal Dem trope: Tax cuts are spending, and tax increases are savings. IOW, all your money are belong to us. Bow down and give thanks that we let you use any of it!

  10. just posted this at the previous thread:

    Yep, they’re double counting tax increases as budget cuts in the 2 trillion.

    Page 115 of the doc: Table S-2. Effect of Budget Proposals on Projected deficits (fairly big pdf) fleshes out the 2 trillion.

    There’s 1.4 trillion reduction from cut’s in from ‘overseas contigency operations’. Another 311 billion from debt service reduction. But the rest (aside from nebulous ‘health savings) is the net from tax increases via ‘Upper income tax provisions dedicated to debt reduction’ ($640B), the new carbon tax/cap&trade permit scheme ($645B), less tax cuts for ‘families and buisinesses’ ($940B) and $450B in other misc discretionary spending.

  11. What’s also underreported by what I’ve seen so far is even if the deficit is cut in half by fy 2013 to $533B, the projections after that are for the deficit to continue to increase and remain more or less constant (3%) portion of the GDP.

    In one way I appreciate the honesty; everyone else always projects a balanced budget in the outyears, no matter what the initial conditions.

    On the other hand, isn’t the admininstration’s central assertion that they will ‘restore fiscal responsiblity’? – after the current crisis of course. But this plan *never* does.

  12. …is bloated by spending on the stimulus package and various financial-sector bailouts, expenses unlikely to be repeated in future years.

    HAH!! Good one.

  13. Obama committed the government to more deficit spending in one month in office than George Bush did in 8 years. If Bobby Jindle were half as smart as he thinks he is, that would have been the first sentence of his speech the other night.

  14. Ah, lawyer presidents–always good with the lying and misleading. With the exception of myself and Mr. Dean, I don’t much care for attorneys in the White House. Unless they’re just visiting it, anyway.

  15. Obama committed the government to more deficit spending in one month in office than George Bush did in 8 years.

    Nope. The congress did it. Presidents don’t have the power of the purse.

    -jcr

  16. @Kolohe
    They needed to get the porkupolus plan in before 2010, as democrats for sure are going to lose the congressional elections.

  17. If there are any fuckers in here who actually voted for this fucking big-eared socialist geek, go ahead and lick a shitcone.

  18. Hey, where’s joe these days?
    I’d like to club that self-fellating fist-fuck with a … something blunt …
    A club, I guess.
    Fuck liberals right in their cunts.

  19. “Nope. The congress did it. Presidents don’t have the power of the purse.”

    No. But they have the veto power. Congress can’t spend a dime without the President’s signature or overriding a veto. He signed the bills, he along with Congress is responsible.

  20. In one way I appreciate the honesty; everyone else always projects a balanced budget in the outyears, no matter what the initial conditions.

    Fair point, though many of those projections tend to include nice but it’ll-never-happen things like, “And then, at the next farm bill, we cut all ag subsidies to people making more than $80k,” that the President at least proposes, even if Congress laughs.

    OTOH, the 3% gap here is also explained by Obama proposing that non-defense spending move to a permanent highly plateau even after the current emergency. Since the 60s, we’ve averaged a pretty consistent 16.5% of GDP on nondefense, 3-4% on defense, and 17-18% in taxes (for a 2-3% deficit). He’s talking about after this crisis of shifting the baseline to a new baseline of 19.5% in non-defense spending.

    Way more than W, as non-defense spending was actually lower under GWB than under Clinton, just defense spending went up so much. Clinton’s good budget performance was almost (but not entirely) defense budget cuts (agreed to by Republicans as well– where have you gone, Dick Armey?)

    Change!

  21. Don’t you know you have to spend in order to save? Basic rule of shopping.

  22. Actually, the new jobs to be created will involve 3 million people clipping coupons on behalf of the federal government. The savings will be enormous!

  23. What if we sell Hope and Change as exports?
    We certainly have an oversupply of it domestically.

  24. I can’t believe we haven’t had a thread about the video from the NYU “revolution”. You people probably drink corporate water…

  25. Seriously what happened to joe?? I mean can we take his MIA status as him finding all of this as impossible to defend? I mean what is up?

  26. “spambot | February 26, 2009, 1:51pm | #
    Seriously what happened to joe?? I mean can we take his MIA status as him finding all of this as impossible to defend? I mean what is up?”

    He claimed this site has become too right wing or something, then bailed.

  27. I guess he would be like:

    If we don’t spend more now to help the economy, the deficit would be worse than if we didn’t spend!

    /joe

    Yeah, basically the left wing version of vodoo economics.

  28. Warty, don’t you know the reason editors have to wait for the democratic process to proceed before they can post entries?

    Seriously what happened to joe?

    Read and enjoy. It’s long.

  29. That strikes me as optimistic, given that we have Porkulus II teed up right now in an omnibus spending bill, and Pelosi is hard at work on Porkulus III for this summer.

    Aren’t they also working on a bunch of new health care proposals that will almost certainly become permanent new entitlements?

  30. You don’t suppose all this “fiscal discipline” talk has anything to do with the recent sharp rise in credit default insurance on United States sovereign debt, do you?

  31. “He claimed this site has become too right wing or something, then bailed.”

    What he was surprised that folks here were against deficits, high taxes, and war escalations??? The same things folks here hated in Bush they hate in Obama. I mean sounds like a wuss out to me because everything he was saying on this site for the past 6 months would not happen IS HAPPENING!!!

    What a tool, can’t take the heat so outa the kitchen. Too bad he actually had some good things to say.

  32. Obama can suck my dick.

    And he can keep the change.

  33. Too bad he actually had some good things to say.

    Yeah, right. Because being an obnoxious, sanctimonious prig really adds to the quality of the discourse.

  34. >Unless of course the Republicans take over congress in 2010.

    >>Oh is that when they finally decide to start practicing what they preach? Republicans = no credibility on deficits.

    Economically, we did pretty well after the Democrats were evicted from congress and Bill Clinton was The Man (post 1994). It’s when one party calls all the shots that things get hairy. Not that I’m against hairy things.

  35. So that’s what happened to joe. He’s got a weak spot on race issues. If I’d been in that thread, I’d have warned him about the speech-chilling dangers of the heckler’s veto. If we allow overly sensitive interpretations of speech that offend some people to chill that speech, we’ll end up nowhere really quickly.

    Honestly, apologizing for a cartoon that you didn’t intend to be racist and which takes a major leap of imagination to be viewed as racist is like apologizing to someone you called stupid by saying “I’m sorry that you’re stupid.”

    joe’s always been loyal to Urkobold, so I won’t trash him for being (in my opinion) on the wrong side of the liberty tracks. I’ve got friends who view the world in a similar manner, after all. It’s got to be rough to be a true-blue liberal right now, because the competence of the Congress and the administration is coming more and more into question. Especially Congress, which may be the worst in 100 years.

  36. You don’t suppose all this “fiscal discipline” talk has anything to do with the recent sharp rise in credit default insurance on United States sovereign debt, do you?

    It’s gone up, but it’s gone up from ‘virtually nothing’ to ‘almost virtually nothing’ – a big % yes, but still rather low as these things go.

    I also question the premise of the entire market – if you wind up having an insurance claim because the US defaults on the debt, who the heck is going to be in a position to be able to pay you off? In my mind, having US debt insurance is like having K-T asteroid insurance.

  37. I demand a thread in which the H&R community can express solidarity with the NYU food court occupancy vanguard.

    Also, Gaza and shit.

    THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

  38. Epi,

    Yeah I remember reading some of that one, but I mean I actually thought joe was right that the cartoon used imagery that for years has been known as racist so the Post went there at it’s peril. Pretty much the bottom line. Pretty much a libertarian arguement too. Print what you want, don’t whine when people get pissed about it.

    Still looks like he used it as a cop out. I mean I have other friends who lean a lot more to the left than me, and I am not right wing by any stretch who either don’t like all this spending or have just kind of shut up with all the Obama cheering because it is impossible to defend.

    Thank god Bush is gone, and Obama is not Bush. That is about where the defensible positions end.

  39. I also question the premise of the entire market

    I agree completely, but this is on the radar, and I’m betting there are a bunch of people in the government getting nervous about it. It makes it that much tougher to hold rates down.

  40. “Yeah, right. Because being an obnoxious, sanctimonious prig really adds to the quality of the discourse.”

    Well that was certainly in there, but he could also be very thoughtful and wasn’t knee jerk on everything and was far from being a troll. Without someone like him here it reads more like a circle jerk unfortunately.

  41. Read and enjoy. It’s long.

    I bailed on that thread way to early. He was fine hanging out here as long as he could agree with us about Bush, I guess.

    Now, he cant deal with it. Oh well, that saves me some arguments in the future.

    I think he timed his leaving with Chavez getting his Prez for life vote thru. He didnt want to have to take defeat on that one.

  42. spambot, I’ll quote what I said on the bottom of that thread:

    “I hate to be a party pooper, but honestly, while joe stimulated argument, he did not stimulate real discussion. He was completely eristic, often disingenuous, and absolutely partisan. If I thought for a minute he actually believed what he was arguing for, I’d completely want to hear it. But that wasn’t what he did. He argued for the sake of arguing, and to score points on the chalkboard in his head.”

  43. “absolutely partisan”

    Well completely impossible to argue with that. LOL

  44. The most annoying thing about joe was the pissing matches he’d get into with the posters that were weirdly obsessed with him (his little Hatedom).

  45. BDB,

    I was one of those people who got into pissing matches. He would say ourragous smug things that could not be ignored. He was annoying as hell but he never quire managed to be a complete troll. He had a way of baiting people into being as rediculous as he was. He didn’t help the quality of discussion.

  46. I actually thought joe was right that the cartoon used imagery that for years has been known as racist so the Post went there at it’s peril.

    My views are affected by a stupid debate when I lived in Madison circa 1993. The Badger Herald had a cartoonist who was doing a strip that regularly criticized Indian mascots. In one, the Cleveland Indians mascot introduces his friend Sambo. A firestorm erupted. How dare he use Sambo in a cartoon…etc…etc.

    His point was obviously anti-racist. Yet it was somehow considered anti-black. At that point, I said “fuck it” and stop worrying if people would get my point or not and just didnt worry about whatever “extra” imagery they might pick up.

    As even joe admitted, the cartoonist was not trying to compare the monkey to Obama. Since he was trying, Im not going to worry about what others might read into it. They will be irrational.

  47. John, when you got into arguments with him, it was actually over issues.

    I’m talking about the people who argued with him and would start ranting about how he must be living in his moms basement, or would even post under “anti-joe” or “I hate joe” or something like that.

  48. apologizing to someone you called stupid by saying “I’m sorry that you’re stupid.”

    “I didn’t tell President Lincoln you’re an idiot. I thought he knew.”

  49. Look at Epi showing off those SAT words. Eristic, la tee da.

  50. robc,

    Yeah that cartoon was a complete editor FAIL, as no know took 5 seconds to go “err this might be offensive do we want that kind of publicity?”

    I mean maybe they did want that. Who knows?

  51. SAD THAT JOE HAS PASSED ON. TOO YOUNG TO DIE.

    LOOKING BACK WISTFULLY, THE URKOBOLD REMEMBERS THAT TIME HE AND JOE WERE BANGING HOOTERS WAITRESSES TEN AT A TIME. . .WAIT, THAT WAS JOE NAMATH. SORRY.

  52. Look at Epi showing off those SAT words. Eristic, la tee da.

    National Merit Scholarship finalist here, Warty.

  53. I wish I knew cool words, but I don’t speak English. All my posts are run through the Google Translator before I hit “submit.”

  54. If you guys are finished jacking Epi off, I have a more important topic: boobs.

    I demand a thread in which the H&R community can express solidarity with the NYU food court occupancy vanguard.

    As long as they get more girls to go topless, I stand in solidarity with them.

    Work on the quality next time, though.

  55. National Merit Scholarship finalist here

    Wasn’t everybody a National Merit Scholar finalist?

  56. “I wish I knew cool words, but I don’t speak English. All my posts are run through the Google Translator before I hit “submit.”

    That is a good idea. Maybe if I started using google, I wouldn’t mispell so many words.

  57. John–

    Get Mozilla w/spellchecker. It will underline in red any misspelled words when you type.

  58. Er, Mozilla Firefox.

  59. John,

    There’s always Firefox and its spellchecker for form boxes. IE 7 can probably do that, too, with some sort of plug-in if not out of the box.

    In Firefox, misspelled words get red underlines–very nice. Of course, the dictionary is lacking somewhat. For instance, “eristic” gets the red underline. But that’s easily remedied by adding the word. Thus I make it so.

  60. Yeah that cartoon was a complete editor FAIL, as no know took 5 seconds to go “err this might be offensive do we want that kind of publicity?”

    I think you misread me, Im the exact opposite. Fuck what some idiots might think it means, it wasnt meant to be racist so screw the idiots who might think it is.

  61. National Merit Scholarship finalist here

    Wasnt everyone? That was the total of my scholarships earned. And I had out of state tuition to pay. For some reason, high SAT scores and excessively mediocre high school grades doesnt bring in the big bucks.

  62. Obama either doesn’t believe in the Laffler Curve or has an awful lot of confidence that we’re on the lower end of it. A lot more confidence than he oughtta have.

  63. Damn you P Brooks!

  64. Well, joe was okay, but we still have MNG, and Max Hats, and Tony and others who come here to argue.

    I definitely don’t want a blog where opposing viewpoints are unwelcome.

    Personally, I think the spoofing got a bit out of hand when it spilled over from Lefiti to other posters like joe.

    Spoofing should only be used when the ‘reducio ad absurdum’ point has been reached. Which for some people is on their first post.

    But even though joe was partisan and disingenuous at times, his arguments had enough plausibility that it was worthwhile to argue with them.

  65. I am fully aware of the spell check options available. I just refuse to use them.

  66. Hah, hah!

  67. In this economic environment, I’m not sure how it can help?.

    In the mean time, I just came across a very helpful website on the current economic downturn and employment:

    http://www.recessioninfocenter.com

    http://www.recessioninfocenter.com/2008_tax_tips_for_recession.html

  68. BURRIS’ SON GOT STATE JOB FROM BLAGO
    SCANDAL MUSHROOMS | He serves as housing authority counsel despite facing foreclosure on his own home:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/burris/1450607,CST-NWS-burris26.stng

  69. I for one, do not miss joe.

  70. That would be the house that he never made a payment on and he put on land he bought from the city for a dollar, right?

  71. “That would be the house that he never made a payment on and he put on land he bought from the city for a dollar, right?”

    You are correct, sir.

  72. It’s Easy to Cut the Deficit in Half After You’ve Quadrupled It

    In truth, that probably isn’t even true. This is government we are talking about. Once it is in the budget, is it ever easy to cut?

  73. “In truth, that probably isn’t even true. This is government we are talking about. Once it is in the budget, is it ever easy to cut?”

    Isn’t that Jindal’s point as well?

  74. SugarFree,

    Now I’m conflicted. I KNOW the feminist ninjas have a webpage. Trouble is that I don’t wanna visit and give the impression that I give a damn about . . . whatever reason it was that they became topless. Maybe it was principles, and maybe skankiness, maybe shirts and bras were just not “in” that day. Who knows?

  75. Naga–I took that bullet for you. ‘Tis booby-less, at least for the brief time I was there it was.


  76. Read and enjoy. It’s long.

    Holy…fucking…shit.

    He lost his mind and pulled a “screw you guys, I’m going home” in one thread.

    You can actually watch him deteriorate as the thread progresses. Sad. He goes from disbelief to anger to spittle-flecking rage, and then he quits H&R forever.

    All the shit he’s dished out and taken, and that’s how he wants to go out? With a little tantrum?

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