The president’s new budget proposes to end NASA’s Constellation program, a Bush initiative intended to put humans back on the moon by 2020. But Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget still goes to the moon figuratively—if you stacked 3.8 trillion one dollar bills, the pile would reach the moon with 20,000 miles to spare!
In the defensive-sounding statement released with his budget this morning, President Obama repeatedly blames the previous administration for leaving him in a position where he had “no choice” but to send the nation deeper into debt. He blames “irresponsible risk-taking and debt-fueled speculation—unchecked by sound oversight” for a deep recession that he speciously claims his administration’s massive spending prevented from becoming a depression.
Earlier this week I criticized the U.S. Conference of Mayors for going to Washington and groveling for more federal hand-outs. Let me provide some more background for my criticisms with a look at federal budget data. The first chart shows that since 1960, total federal subsidies to state and local government have increased an astounding 1,173%.
Hundreds of city leaders are in Washington for the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Considering that winter weather in our nation’s capital is about as warm as Barney Frank’s personality, there’s only one reason for the mayors to meet there: grovel for more federal hand-outs.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s $400 million Economic Development Administration provides grants and loans to state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and businesses in regions that are supposed to be economically distressed. The EDA is a relic of the 1960s belief that the federal government can solve the problems of distressed urban centers. Its legacy is one of wasteful and politicized spending. Former EDA director, Orson Swindle, called it a “congressional cookie jar,” and the legendary anti-pork Democrat Senator William Proxmire argued that it “deserves to die.”
The Federal Housing Administration will reportedly announce more stringent lending requirements and higher borrowing fees. The move comes in response to growing concerns that rising losses on mortgages it insures will require a taxpayer bailout. Although any credit tightening is welcome, the agency will not propose an increase in the minimum downpayment, currently 3.5 percent. (Borrowers with credit scores below 580 will be required to put down a minimum of 10 percent, but most FHA lenders already require a 620 minimum score.)