Government Spending

Obama Slams 'Mindless Austerity' of Budget Caps His Administration Proposed

The sequestration process was the White House's idea in the first place.

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President Obama is selling his latest budget plan as an end to "mindless austerity."

Via USA Today

President Obama submitted his $4 trillion budget wish-list to a Republican Congress Monday, calling for a return to increased domestic and military spending to be paid for in part by higher taxes on the wealthy.

The plan includes a $478 billion public works infrastructure program for roads, bridges, and transit systems, to be financed by taxes on overseas earnings. The budget calls for new tax credits and other initiatives devoted to education, child care, paid leave, and infrastructure, with tax hikes resulting from the closure of tax loopholes. The president also wants to put an end to the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration, calling for a 7% increase in spending over the budget levels he agreed to in a 2011 compromise with Republicans.

"I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America," Obama said in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security. "I'm not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward. It would be bad for our security, and bad for our growth."

The Department of Homeland Security makes a perfect backdrop for Obama's call for more federal spending; it's a perfect symbol of the sort of bloated, mismanaged, costly operation that our ever-expanding federal budgets give us. 

Obama's campaign against "mindless austerity" is a campaign against sequestration, a form of budget cap that was agreed to as part of a 2013 budget deal. The White House explainer on sequestration refers to it as a program of "harmful budget cuts" that will make it harder to "grow the economy and create jobs."

What Obama tends to mention less is that his own administration proposed sequestration in the first place, although he has tried repeatedly to pin its origin on Congress.

To be fair, it wasn't exactly supposed to go into effect. The theory was that the caps would prove so unacceptable that they would be nixed before they hit. That didn't happen. In fact, the caps turned out to be fairly tolerable, with the primary complaints coming from big-spenders on the left and the military and the defense hawks who basically refuse to accept any limits on Pentagon spending. Budget restraint is rarely as painful as its critics warn. 

Obama's warning about the economic perils of sequestration similarly ring hollow. What economic recovery we've seen so far has come in the context of budget caps and shrinking deficits. The administration has, of course, been happy to remind people that the economy seems to be improving, and to take credit, but not so enthusiastic about noting the budgetary context in which the improvements have taken place. But maybe the White House should take some credit for sequestration, which so far seems to be working pretty well.

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171 responses to “Obama Slams 'Mindless Austerity' of Budget Caps His Administration Proposed

  1. I’m willing to take Obama’s word that anything he does is mindless.

    1. There’s definitely something mindless in all this, and it ain’t austerity (wherever the hell you could find any in the western world, which you can’t).

      Leftoid economics are backwards and mindless.

  2. Describing our current spending habits as “mindless austerity” might be the greatest Obamaism yet.

    1. Not smart investments in government? That one made me laugh.

      1. When do I get to see my ROI from my government investment? I’d like my check please.

        1. “When do I get to see my ROI from my government investment?”

          Your ROI on government investment is an IOU from GM, Solyndra, that other solar panel outfit, wind turbines, etc, etc.

        2. “When do I get to see my ROI from my government investment? I’d like my check please.”

          Hazel, we regret to inform you that your ROI was negative, and thus attached is your bill. Please submit it no later than April 15th.

          Sincerely,
          Your Friends at the IRS.

      2. Didn’t we already make massive investments in infrastructure when he first came to office? I seem to remember some “shovel ready” jobs and shit like that.

    2. Have we actually had any recent federal fiscal year where totaly government outlays on an absolute dollar basis were less than the previous year?

      That is the only thing that would even remotely come close to counting as “ausetirty”

  3. The Department of Homeland Security makes a perfect backdrop for Obama’s call for more federal spending

    It’s just his little way of sticking it to The Man.

  4. what did we cut?

    1. TEH ROADZ!

    2. There IS nothing left to cut.

      1. The cupboard is bare.

  5. mindless austerity

    yeah… nothing left to cut

    Obama just want to grow the government as big as possible, knowing full well that cutting (under either party) is nigh impossible. That is his legacy.

    1. I end up thinking of that awful Pelosi interview everyday, sometimes several times a day, while reading Reason. Its a running joke between all the different voices in my skull.

  6. His presidency can’t be over soon enough.

    1. Sorry you did not get to see a Tom Brady crybaby face.

  7. Is anyone sick to death of the constant refrain from President Not My Fault that everything is ok now and we are recovering just fine?

    It’s total bullshit. The economy is a fucking mess, incomes are still down, healthcare costs are beyond any hope of coming down in any way shape or form and if it wasn’t for cheap gas we would have even more people than ever on food stamps.

    A 17K DJIA does not automatically a recovery make.

    1. A record number of people have also dropped out of the workforce to claim Social Security Disability, as well. And despite that, U6 still looks like shit.

      1. I don’t know how anyone can look at the data and call this a “recovery”.

        1. Easy, Tman. Just compare this with how bad things could have been had the administration not acted.

          1. I see The Other Kevin noted this below.

        2. Well, considering the growth improved after the sequester and unemployment went down, what shall we assume? In the absence of the sequester, things would have been even better? Just like if in the absence of the stimulus things would have been even worse?

          The prognostications of our Keynesian court astrologers have been rather wide of the mark in recent years.

          1. “But maybe the White House should take some credit for sequestration, which so far seems to be working pretty well.”

            Which is why, there’s no way in hell that the Obama administration will willing admit to this connection.

      2. 1500 a month plus housing, food, transportation and education subsidies sounds pretty good compared to working at a shitty, low paying job with no security. I no longer blame these people; they’re just responding to incentives and making logical choices.

        1. Yep, blame the douche-bags giving the incentives.

    2. A 17K DJIA does not automatically a recovery make.

      don’t worry, when a republican is president, record stock prices will be a sign that those policies only help the rich.

      1. And lower U3 will be because of McJobs.

    3. With such an anemic recovery, my Dem friends still bemoan government not doing more to solve inequality and stagnant wages. I think it’s lost on them that government is probably the cause of these issues.

  8. Meh, I prefer mindful austerity but I’ll take mindless austerity. Either way, Fuck you, cut spending.

    It will good for our growth and as such good for our security. There is no money multiplier that has been proven time and time again. And the government is a lousy venture capitalist whos members knows next to nothing about investment.

    1. But just look at the investment genius of our various legislators! You aren’t telling me that the massive amounts of money that many make while in office is the result of something besides an amazing grasp of economic matters, are you?

      1. To answer your question with a question. Do you mean the trading of favors for insider information and campaign cash is an economic model for the growth of the nations productive base?

        1. /hands Dr. F new sarcometer.

            1. Yes I was. Sarcasm within sarcasm.

              1. “Observe that closely, Feyd. Sarcasm within sarcasm within sarcasm.”

              2. Damn your sarc-jitsu!

                1. Somebody reversed the polarities on DwT’s own, homemade Sarcometer.

                  /thisshitjustgotreal

        2. What’s good for GM is good for America.

    2. There is no money multiplier that has been proven time and time again.

      Well, there is a spending multiplier. It just happens to be less than one, roughly about 0.67. That means for every dollar the government spends we get 67 cents of economic growth (i.e. the private sector contracts by 33 cents).

      1. Why do you hate women and minority government employees?

        1. Hate them? Nothing could be farther from the truth. I love them with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

          1. I don’t hate women. I just don’t like it when they vote.

            1. I don’t hate women. I just hate it when they talk.

              FIFY.

              1. Another problem solved by duct tape 🙂

      2. You’re completely neglecting that we only take part of that government spending money from the private sector. The rest is borrowed, bringing us close to $1.00.

        Doesn’t that make you feel better?

        1. You’re completely neglecting that we only take part of that government spending money from the private sector.

          Actually, no. The figures are off of GDP numbers. It’s a combination of taxes and borrowings that alter private sector behavior.

          1. The theory being that in recession the private sector is so averse to borrowing for new investment that state borrowing doesn’t effect private sector at all, just consumes ‘idle credit.’

            That debate notwithstanding, I though the recession was over, and investment is up, so now deficit spending will definitely crowd out private sector, damping the recovery that Obama supposedly brought about despite congressional imposed budget cuts, but also didn’t happen because we still need to be in dire straits to justify more spending, even though we can’t be in sire straits because the last batch of deficit spending worked so well, because…

            I think we’re going in circles. Or perhaps more accurately, spiraling down a vortex into the abyss.

            1. The theory being that in recession the private sector is so averse to borrowing for new investment that state borrowing doesn’t effect private sector at all, just consumes ‘idle credit.’

              Yeah, like nobody ever heard of Barro or Ricardian equivalence. And that’s in a normal economy.

        2. And that’s money that doesn’t have to be paid back, right?

          Seriously, though, it never is. I can see the temptation for a politician to just borrow money endlessly, when we have the strongest military in the world.

          1. “And that’s money that doesn’t have to be paid back, right?”

            It’s not going to be.

    3. There is no money multiplier that has been proven time and time again.

      If they really believed their own bullshit about multipliers and government stimulus, then they’d never talk about taxing the rich and closing tax loop holes, since their mythology assumes that government spending pays for itself.

  9. We’ve gone from a country which understood at the bone that there was no such thing as a free lunch, to one convinced the consumption of free lunches is a revenue-generating activity.

    1. Free lunches are also a fundamental human right, perhaps the fundamental human right.

      1. I’ll bet all those people in the photo got a free lunch.

    2. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress should be required reading.

      1. That we were slaves I had known all my life ? and nothing could be done about it. True, we weren’t bought and sold ? but as long as Authority held monopoly over what we had to have and what we could sell to buy it, we were slaves.

        ==

        Do this. Don’t do that. Stay back in line. Where’s tax receipt? Fill out form. Let’s see license. Submit six copies. Exit only. No left turn. No right turn. Queue up and pay fine. Take back and get stamped. Drop dead ? but first get permit.

        ==

        Comrades, I beg of you ? do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

      2. “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress should be required reading.”

        Agreed, but Friday might be more relevant.

    3. ” one convinced the consumption of free lunches is a revenue-generating activity.”

      I do find it bizarre that making the claim that “bigger federal budgets” equate to “stronger economic growth” is parroted sans-comment by people in the media….

      …when “common sense” in the 1980s was that, “the less Government takes, the more is left for the real economy”

      This whole writing-off the “real economy” as irrelevant is a tad disturbing. It seems to signal that much of the population has gone from ‘benign ignorance’ to ‘actively believing dangerous falsehoods’

      1. I am slowly warming to the idea that we should grow the budget as fast as possible and get the inevitable collapse over with. It won’t be the collapse of civilization, just the government running out of cheap borrowing and money to steal, combined with the increased ossification which is the only possible result of such an expanded government.

        People aren’t stupid. They follow incentives perfectly well. As the government gets slower and more useless, and as alternative technologies such as cell-based private internet outstriip the approved and mandated government procedures, people will cut their ties to government without even realizing it.

        Eventually government will be left behind as the appendix of society, something people are vaguely aware of as a quaint fuzzball in the corner.

        /dreaming

        1. I’m 58 years old.

          I’m about to hop off the ride. Can’t you wait until I do before you bring it to a full stop ?

          Just joking. I find life to be a wonderful experience. What an interesting time that will be when hoi polloi realize that a dollar bill is a piece of paper.

        2. I’m 58 years old.

          I’m about to hop off the ride. Can’t you wait until I do before you bring it to a full stop ?

          Just joking. I find life to be a wonderful experience. What an interesting time that will be when hoi polloi realize that a dollar bill is a piece of paper.

      2. I do find it bizarre that making the claim that “bigger federal budgets” equate to “stronger economic growth” is parroted sans-comment by people in the media….

        The only thing important to the economy is GDP! Anything that helps GDP is good. Ergo, lots of government spending is good. Nobody has any idea that the credit card bill comes due. And while it doesn’t necessarily mean default, it does mean there needs to be a lot more theft to feed the beast.

      3. the population has gone from ‘benign ignorance’ to ‘actively believing dangerous falsehoods’

        Cato paper on this subject.

        In theory, democracy is a bulwark against
        socially harmful policies. In practice, however,
        democracies frequently adopt and maintain policies
        that are damaging. How can this paradox be
        explained?
        The influence of special interests and voter
        ignorance are two leading explanations. I offer
        an alternative story of how and why democracy
        fails. The central idea is that voters are worse
        than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational?and
        they vote accordingly. Despite their lack of
        knowledge, voters are not humble agnostics;
        instead, they confidently embrace a long list of
        misconceptions.

        1. “Conservatives call Americans stupid!”

          /MSNBC

        2. The Greeks conclusively disproved the hypothesis that democracy is a bulwark against socially harmful policies 1500 years ago.

          1. “The Greeks conclusively disproved the hypothesis that democracy is a bulwark against socially harmful policies 1500 years ago last week.”

            FTFY

          2. Well you won’t have the Greeks to push around much longer!

            http://www.minnpost.com/second…..te-suicide

            According to this article the stupid austerity measures are causing the Greek’s to off themselves in record numbers.

            “As future austerity measures are considered, greater weight should be given to the unintended mental health consequences of these measures,” the study’s authors conclude. “Greater attention should also be paid to the public reporting of austerity measures and any subsequent suicide-related events that may follow. Educating the public over these events, while at the same time avoiding sensational language, unnecessarily explicit details and undue repetition of stories, are reasonable approaches to pursue.”

            “It has been argued that the policies of austerity implemented in Greece have been largely unscientific,” they add. “Future economic policies, and the public messaging of these policies and related events, may benefit from the findings documented here.”

            1. It sucks being a grownup.

              1. Maybe they’ll adopt the social construct in Logan’s Run and thus the austerity issue will resolve itself.

        3. Perhaps a tragedy of the commons thing?

    4. does asking for change for a 5 create $10 of economic activity?

      1. No, but since the market value for sex among prostitutes is about $300, everytime a woman has sex with me, $300 of value is created.

        The government should therefore start paying (or requiring, whatever) women to have sex with us to boost the GDP. Quick, it’s for the economy!

  10. Mindless austerity which had no discernible impact on the American economy since the years of sequestration cuts are no worse than the years without them.

    Keynesians: It must be having a bad impact, even if we can’t point to any evidence! You’ll just have to trust us!

    1. It must be fun being a voodoo economist; you never have to have anything you predict come true or provide evidence that what you say will work will actually work!

      1. It works for Krugman.

        The NYT keeps writing him checks.

        1. Except, to be fair, Krugman the economist rarely spouts the sort of inane bullshit Krugman the NY Times columnist does.

          1. “Krugman the economist ”

            Krugman the economist died in 2000, when the Democrats lost The White House.

            From Scott Sumner:
            “Paul Krugman became famous for his brilliant polemics against pundits who favored managed trade, often pundits associated with the Democratic Party (see Krugman 1996).

            Paul Krugman was defending third-world sweatshops, and he derided the view that fiscal stimulus could end deflation in Japan (Krugman 1997; 1999).”

            http://econjwatch.org/articles…..e-widening

    2. It’s just the revers of stimulus spending.

      Stimulus: Just think of how bad it would have been had we not spent that money!

      Austerity: Just think of how good it would have been had we spent that money!

      Neither one is provable.

    3. Actually, wouldn’t Keynes have been advocating massive spending cuts the last few years? The recession ended in June 2009. Keynes would have said time to wind down the stimulus and begin to save up for the next rainy day.

      1. No, because modern Keynesians aren’t actually followers of Keynes, they just love spending lots of money.

        The same people oppose spending cuts when times are good, too. If the goal of increased spending were countercyclical fiscal policy meant to boost a flagging economy, then there’d be no reason to support such spending during good economic times.

        1. Absent government, there wouldn’t be “a flagging economy.”

        2. isn’t all the money spent on campaigns stimulative?

        3. What is Krugman saying about this budget? He denied crowding out during the recession, but he can’t deny it now, so he should be up in arms against Obama’s budget, if he is a real counter-cyclical fiscal policy-supporting Keynesian?

          But no, because it’s not really even Keynesianism, it’s just thinly-veiled socialism leap frogging from one rationalization to the next as circumstances change.

      2. “Timely, temporary, and targeted” is the usual paraphrase of Keynes. Then they ignore him.

      3. “Actually, wouldn’t Keynes have been advocating massive spending cuts the last few years?”

        Keynes would have, the modern neo-Keynesians advocate massive tax increases instead.

    4. Private sector job growth has done OK in that period but the overall employment picture is tempered by lots of government layoffs (at all levels). Whether you think these are legitimate jobs or not, the economy can’t tell the difference.

      1. “tempered by lots of government layoffs (at all levels).”

        Bullshit. Federal employment has grown by 5% since 2007.

        http://www.opm.gov/policy-data…..ince-1962/

      2. Well then I guess we should pay more people to dig holes with spoons in Alaska. I mean, if the economy can’t tell the difference, a boost is a boost.

      3. Yep, producing is the same as spending. Brilliant as ever, Tony.

  11. This is why we need a press, to call people out when they say something this stupid.

    1. “to call people out when they say something this stupid.”

      I don’t see a whole lot of actual “calling out” going on

      A term used here to describe ‘higher taxes and more federal spending’ included = “work force development

      No further explanation of how the Federal Government ‘develops the work force’ was offered

      Other gems of insight included =

      …a former top economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “The other way to look at it is, it’s a Chinese menu, and you’re not going to share the duck, but you might split the egg rolls.”

      well i’m glad they brought in the TOP MAN to explain that process for everyone.

      No where in the piece do they bother to note that the Wish List items in his proposed budget… = e.g.

      “free community college, more generous child care subsidies and education tax credits, paid sick leave, expanded unemployment benefits…”

      ..are mostly just glorified handouts that have little real ‘demand’ behind them. We don’t have labor being ‘restricted’ by a lack of child care, phony college degrees, or by not getting paid to not work…

      In short = i’m not sure ‘the media’ is helping much. or at all.

      1. I was being sarcastic. C’mon, man.

    1. They also decapitated both of those poor Japanese reporters.

      These Islamonazi scum are human smallpox and should be eradicated from the earth.

      1. We can only hope that a plane full of ninjas are on their way to visit ISIS as we post.

        1. Perhaps the ninjas should first visit the creator / prime financier of ISIS?

          1. Who would that be ?

      2. Yeah, they might want to be a bit careful about getting the Japanese in on the whole beheading thing…

        http://tinyurl.com/nsvvawr

      3. “They also decapitated both of those poor Japanese reporters”

        Well yes, but that’s just pay back for the Crusades, don’t you know. 😉

      4. I believe it was Kipling who said it best.

        ‘The border of Islam is bloody.’

    2. For the life of me, I don’t see why we don’t just tell the Kurds: “we give you as many munitions as you need, and if you can purge ISIS from western Iraq, you we’ll recognize your state and give you a bunch of money.” It’d be a hell of a lot more effective than whatever they currently plan on doing with the Defense budget.

      Whatever happened to the principle of self-determination? If any people over their deserves their own country, it’s the Kurds. And Turkey can go fuck itself, that country’s worse than useless. It’s just and ISIS recruitment center.

      1. Ah, fuck me. *there, not their (third last line, last word)

  12. “The plan includes a $478 billion public works infrastructure program for roads, bridges, and transit systems, to be financed by taxes on overseas earnings.”

    Why not another doubling or quadrupling of cigarette taxes? That would make about as much sense. I guess he isn’t very serious about roads, bridges, and transit systems, is he.

    1. If that’s really His Majesty’s plan I predict that my home country of Canada will have a boom in the corporate HQ office real estate sector

    2. because…loosies !

    3. But you see those companies making money overseas… They took our jobz!!

  13. Look, it’s not Obama’s fault that the policies his administration proposed went and became law, okay?

    1. “Look, it’s not Obama’s fault that the policies his administration proposed went and became law, okay?”

      Well clearly it was the Republican’s fault!

  14. “I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America,” Obama said

    That fucking retard wouldn’t know a “smart investment” if it fell on him dressed as a 16 ton weight.

    1. Michelle is not a smart investment?

    2. When a politician says “smart investment” they mean “this investment is so smart that no one will touch it with their own money!”

      1. Don’t forget the other angle:

        The politician expects that the investment will pay dividends to him and his family and his friends.

    3. When is Hillary going to start investing in cattle futures again, so she can pay off the national debt?

      1. I’m confused, I though Hillary was the cattle future we were supposed to be investing in?

  15. The Department of Homeland Security makes a perfect backdrop for Obama’s call for more federal spending; it’s a perfect symbol of the sort of bloated, mismanaged, costly operation that our ever-expanding federal budgets give us.

    DHS- brought to us by whom?

    George W “LET’S MAKE THE GOVERNMENT BIGGER!” BOOOOSH

    I fucking hate that guy.

  16. Listening to NPR this morning, they were talking about how Obama has overcome the need to keep campaigning, overcome the great recession, and overcome huge deficits… and my first thought was “so now he wants to bring those huge deficits back?”

    And, of course, he does.

    1. It’s even worse than that. A recession is guaranteed to occur in the future. They always do. It is the order of things.

      When the next recession hits, what happens if in the ‘good years’ we ran 600 billion dollar deficits?

      That’s a great way to end up with 800 billion dollar deficits as a matter of course.

    2. they were talking about how Obama has overcome the need to keep campaigning

      Campaigning is pretty much all he’s been doing for the last month. He’s campaigning more now than he was right before the midterm!

    3. Obama has overcome the need to keep campaigning

      When has he ever stopped campaigning?

  17. I never agree with hardly anything you write, Peter, but you are right on this.

    He did propose sequestration, and whether or not it was intended to go into effect, it did and it has not caused any problems. It should have been easy to make cuts to the budget in those total amount of dollars. Should it have been done more expertly rather than in a blanket manner? Probably. But that was the only way to achieve the cuts, and so, so be it.

    Interestingly enough, back then I even suggested that he take credit for sequestration because I knew the left was going to overestimate any bad results, and he then could have taken credit for something the GOP never does from the Oval Office…cut spending.

    But thanks for a good article.

    1. As for me, I don’t understand why the president talks about new tax and spend programs as an alternative to austerity. Austerity refers to, in times of fiscal crisis, raising taxes and cutting spending. Therefore, raising taxes is typically part of austerity, and the opposite is deficit spending.

      So, if he really wants to suggest an alternative to austerity, he should increase deficit spending and add no new taxes, or perhaps cut taxes to increase the deficit. Because increased taxes go towards balancing the budget, which is not exactly the alternative of austerity.

      1. It’s weird, isn’t it? Apparently, we should remind republican-leaning libertarians that Obama seems to be balancing the budget more than actual republicans. Therefore, we should also remind democrat-leaning libertarians that Obama seems to be balancing the budget, which isn’t exactly priority one for the democratic proletariat.

        1. I really think the Dems and Obama blew it on the sequester, which Peter clearly says.

          For the life of me, I can’t understand why they didn’t run with it…the sequester cut spending (and the GOP never did), and the spending cuts include the military, which the GOP won’t do (unless Rand is President). And it was never going to be the disaster that Maddow and others predicted.

          It was a win win, and they ham fisted it. Typical.

          1. Probably because they didn’t want to sound like republicans.

            See, republicans can get away with acting like democrats, because they talk like republicans.

            Democrats can get away with acting like republicans, because they talk like democrats.

            If democrats and republicans start talking the talk as they walk their walk, it ruins everything.

          2. “And it was never going to be the disaster that Maddow and others predicted. It was a win win, and they ham fisted it. Typical.”

            If they admit the sequester could be a success, then they implicitly admit that the US can still have a growing GDP with a shrinking government. And that’s an idea that the Republican’s have been promoting.

            Yes, the Republican’s haven’t implemented it from The White House, but the Left wants to deny it’s even possible.

          3. “the sequester cut spending (and the GOP never did),”

            Was the sequester evoked under Presiential executive order ?

            Congress had no hand in the sequester becoming law?

            1. I though I remembered them shutting down the government to secure spending cuts. But I guess I haven’t read the Ministry’s latest updated version of history yet.

        2. ???

          You must be joking.
          As I’m sure every single one of us remembers very clearly, the Republicans fought tooth and nail for those spending cuts over vicious Obama opposition.
          Obama wanted to cancel the sequester as soon as it went into effect.

          He can’t take credit for it because he has NEVER actually fought for it. Rather, he fought AGAINST it to the last fucking inch.

          1. You best tell that to Peter then…he disagrees with you. He said the sequester was Obama’s idea…you must have missed it.

            1. From the article above:

              “What Obama tends to mention less is that his own administration proposed sequestration in the first place, although he has tried repeatedly to pin its origin on Congress.

              To be fair, it wasn’t exactly supposed to go into effect. The theory was that the caps would prove so unacceptable that they would be nixed before they hit.

              The Administration thought it had a weapon to use as a scare tactic. The Republican’s called their bluff.

              “Obama’s warning about the economic perils of sequestration similarly ring hollow. ”

              The Administration tried to stop the sequestration at that point, by pounding the newscasts with how bad it was going to be. And it all turned out fine.

              I think the phrase is to be “hoist by one’s own petard”.

  18. I wonder how much of this budget proposal is meant as a gotcha for the rethuglicans. Of course it’s a wish-list and I’m sure the Obama administration wants all of it and more. But it also seems a bit over the top as if they are planning to claim republican obstructionism in 2016. Maybe they’re even hoping for a showdown that leads to a government shutdown. Oh nos!!!!

    1. “Obama vetoes budget…Republicans to blame for government shutdown”

      /NYT future headline

      1. Which Mr. and Mrs. McArdle will both faithfully parrot, as they always do.

      2. More like this:

        “Obama forced to veto budget, Republicans to blame for another government shutdown”

  19. will make it harder to “grow the economy and create jobs.”

    He also seems to support the general presupposition that grown in the economy is a result of government spending rather than the opposite, that government revenue (and the spending it enables) is taken from the economy in the first place. It’s as if an economy did not exist before the government magically brought it into existence.

  20. So the budget is 25 percent of 2014 GDP, taxes rarely exceed 18 percent of GDP, so you’re planning on spending 40 percent more than you take in.

    Austerity???!!!!

  21. But only a few weeks, he boasted that the deficit was cut in half during the SOTU. Which happened thanks to reduced discretionary spending resulting from sequestration and public pressure.

    And the “record” profits generated by American companies? Overseas business.

    The crony capitalists and progressives who run big business (who throw buckets of money at the feet of Dems) are breathing a sigh relief that the GOP controls the government for two years. Insurance companies spent millions to defeat a CA measure allowing the insurance commissioner to set rates. Don’t let the “government” make healthcare choices, their ads said.

  22. How long do we have to go not paying for things like fixing highways and bridges and falling behind Europe and Asia in scientific research before we acknowledge that capitalism isn’t going to do it all by itself?

    1. “$7.5 trillion in debt in six years is absolutely nothing. It should have been $15 trillion!”
      -Chony Krugscum

    2. As long as the they can find $130 million to police sex on college campuses, they aren’t hurting for cash.

    3. If we’re falling behind Europe and Asia in scientific research, it is NOT because government isn’t spending enough money on them.

      It’s because our shitty schools fail to turn out American students who are capable of handling the math.

      1. Your solution of course would be to eliminate public funding of schools and turn them all into such illustrious producers of geniuses as the University of Phoenix.

        1. Tony. Master of the false choice. We can’t cut spending on anything else to fix infrastructure. The President has to use more military force in the ME because of Bush’s bad (but votes on) war.

          At some point the President has to stand on his own record. Good managers know that the key to being successful is prioritizing what’s important. It’s reasonable to expect a chief executive to do the same.

        2. Because everyone knows that private schools are worse than public schools, right?

        3. Tony:

          Your solution of course would be to eliminate public funding of schools and turn them all into such illustrious producers of geniuses as the University of Phoenix.

          What exactly do you think the point is for “free community college for everyone”?

          Why do you hate educating people, Tony?

    4. You’re right, we should shoot ignore the kulaks and wreckers obstructionists and 1 percenters and indoctrinate re-educate the proletariat middle class to become the new Soviet man responsible social stewards they are capable of becoming. Then, maybe, will this persistent famine lagging behind Europe come to an end.

    5. “How long do we have to go not paying for things like fixing highways and bridges and falling behind Europe and Asia in scientific research…”

      What have I been paying for all this time? Crap, I feel misled.

    6. If Obama has time to propose spending $60 billion over the next decade on “free” community college, it’s clear that he doesn’t consider “fixing highways and bridges” a priority.

      You know, because if it was an actual priority he would say we need to spend money there before we spend money on anything else.

      1. Yeah cuz Obama’s never talked about infrastructure like a billion times.

        1. I know. Personally, I look forward to Stimulus II, the Sequel: More infrastructure. More ‘splosions.

          I’m just glad they’re so creative.

          1. NEEDZ MOAR GREEN JOBZ !

        2. “Tony|2.3.15 @ 5:06PM|#

          Yeah cuz Obama’s never talked about infrastructure like a billion times.”

          He also did a photo shoot in front of the southern half of the Keystone pipeline while trying to claim credit for something he was unable to stop.

          In the SOTU he bragged about the growth in oil production that happened in spite of his attempt to stop in.

          Talk is cheap Tony.

    7. and falling behind Europe and Asia in scientific research before we acknowledge that capitalism isn’t going to do it all by itself?

      According to OECD, around two-thirds of research and development in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industries, and 20% and 10% respectively by universities and government

      Over the period 1999-2009 there were 2.9 million scientific papers published in the USA according to Essential Science Indicators at Thomson Reuters (see infographic) (http://sciencewatch.com/dr/cou/2009/09decALL/). This is considerably more than the next two countries in the top 20 list, Japan and Germany, who each produced a respectable 0.8 million scientific papers.

      Do you have a cite for your claim, or are you just being stupid again?

      Perhaps “capitalism isn’t going to do it all by itself” is a mindless bromide from someone who dogmatically assumes that all gaps in human knowledge are not fillable by anything but a government program.

      When you look at the data, government certainly isn’t doing it all by itself, and I’m not sure it’s going to start.

    8. States and cities pay for highways and bridges, and in those cases there is some correlation between demand for infrastructure, and the state’s ability to supply it. When the federal government does it, you end up fixing highways no one uses, paying companies to use more expensive building just to spend more money and ‘stimulate the economy.’ (interesting article: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato…../pa644.pdf)

      Secondly, the comparison Europe is, once again, laughable. 1) We spend more on education per student than any country in Europe except Switzerland, yet to worse than many of them. It is not a funding issue that we can’t produce researchers, it’s the union monopoly on education causing it to stagnate.

      Lastly, European pharmaceutical research is actually suffering compared to American pharma precisely because of state intervention (price controls):
      http://object.cato.org/sites/c…..25n4-7.pdf

  23. A lot of talk and worry about nothing.

    “Similarly, the Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, described the budget as “another tired, tax-and-spend manifesto.”

    “If focuses on growing the bureaucracy instead of opportunity. It does not balance – ever. And because it is not designed to pass Congress, of course it doesn’t,” he said.”

    It is all just theater.

  24. Why the fuck would we want to end “austerity”? The economy is better now than before we started it!

    Two years ago, Keynesians were hysterically screaming that the sequester was going to cause a double-dip recession. That didn’t happen. Not only did “austerity” NOT slow down economic growth, but in the years AFTER the sequester went into effect, the growth rate exceeded forecasts.

    Basically, the sequester proved Keynesian economics wrong. All of their predictions based on their assumptions about how government spending would stimulate the economy were DEAD WRONG. The economy did exactly the opposite of what you would expect. Unemployment went DOWN, GDP growth went UP.

    1. No no! The good things were a result of the Lightworker’s policies! You know, those ones…. the ones that did stuff!

      1. Somehow the Lightworkers policies only start working only AFTER he loses control of Congress and can’t get his way on everything anymore.
        It’s magic that way.

  25. Neither Obama nor his progressive supporters give a damn about being called liars, much less hypocrites.

    That’s one way Obama’s and the progressives’ ideology is exactly like NASCAR. “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ hard enough.

  26. If Sequestration is such a bad policy, why did he propose it back in 2011?

  27. “harmful budget cuts” that will make it harder to “grow the economy and create jobs.”

    And that right there is the disconnect – How do gov. budget cuts prevent economic growth or hinder job creation? The only way this would ring true to anyone is if their ideology held that the government IS the economy and we are all potential employees.

    1. I think there are some in the progresive wing of the Democrat party that are so economically illiterate that they believe a country where everyone worked for the government bureauocracy would be prosperous.

      They have no concept that someone, somewhere, has to create wealth in the first place for the government to tax.

      I’m not talking about communism or other forms og gevernment where the government owns the means of production. I flat out mean that they don’t understand that someone has to make profits to be taxed in the first place, They have no conception that to have a healthly tax base you must have a healthy tax base making money.

  28. “Mindless” describes just about everything both this and the preceding administration have done.

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  30. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  32. The improvements to the economy have been in spite of sequestration, not because of it.

    1. Wrong. Less money to government more money for the crap tables at the Capitalism Casino where wealth and jobs come from.

      Middle Class is still being hammered by low wages due to a vast over supply of labor at the low and high end (STEM)fields. If we sequestered illegals and made it near impossible for them to work in this country, we’d have yet another sequester success story.

  33. Obama is such a liar and all his lies are coming back to make him look silly. He didn’t want to end the Bush tax cuts and agreed to the sequester because it was the right thing to do for the economy.

    Now he is going to have his tools tell us we’ve had 300,000+ jobs for the last three months being created and a tick up in jobs.

    That sound’s familiar? Less money going to or being spent by the government and jobs and wealth start to turn around.

    Republican 1994 Congress forced Clinton to cut cap gains taxes, cut welfare and cut spending to under 19% of GDP – 21 million jobs.

    Bush tax cuts got us to 4.4% unemployment – 7 million jobs until crash (that was not caused by the tax cuts).

    Reagan – massive tax cuts (and some increases – one to slow down an overheating economy – one million jobs created in one month and 11.8% growth in GDP – and 19 million jobs.

    More sequester please!

  34. So when are we going to be in enough debt? When the interest payments take 20 Percent,30,40 of the government income? How much? Are all politicians insane?

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