I testified this week to a a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee looking at the effects of the 2009 stimulus bill (the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”).
A lot has happened since President Obama introduced his last budget in February 2010. His party took an historic “shellacking” at the polls for its big government policies, his Fiscal Commission recommended serious spending cuts, and European governments have illustrated the severe problems of deficit spending.
Despite the record $1.6 trillion deficit this year, and the consensus that exploding spending and debt is pushing the nation toward catastrophe, the Obama administration has completely chickened out on spending reforms in its new budget.
House Republicans proposed some (tiny) spending cuts this week and the Obama administration will likely propose some (tiny) cuts next week in the federal budget.
The Washington Post reports: “Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.”
Gross federal debt just hit $14 trillion and will soon reach the legal limit of $14.3 trillion. House Republicans are wondering what spending reforms they can extract from the Democrats for their support of a debt-limit increase.
A top agenda item for the incoming House Republicans is to immediately start cutting spending. The GOP promised to reduce “nondefense” (or alternatively “nonsecurity”) spending for 2011 to the 2008 level, representing a $100 billion cut. GOP leaders are now being accused of backsliding on that promise, so let’s take a look at the numbers.
Bloomberg is reporting more bad news for the nation’s air traffic control system, which is run by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is $500 million overbudget and six years behind schedule on a $2.1 billion technology upgrade project.
Former President George W. Bush’s book Decision Points is apparently selling quite well. The book includes a defense of the president’s fiscal record, and a table on page 447 compares Bush to prior presidents on spending and debt (you can see the table on Amazon’s search inside feature).