The numbers being floated around by President Obama and Congressional Democrats during this year's budget battle are all spin and sleight of hand. Not that this should surprise anyone - the President has a history of using smoke and mirrors - especially when it comes to taxpayer dollars.
Last year's Democrat-controlled Congress failed to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2011, so the government is currently being funded mostly at 2010 levels. While the administration claims it has offered to cut $51 billion, about $41 billion of that is based on a budget proposal that was never enacted, so the real number is closer to $10 billion. Compare this to House Republicans who voted in February to enact $61 billion in real cuts. Like most important legislative matters, the President has chosen not to lead, but to instead hide behind budget gimmicks to give the appearance that he is taking our fiscal crisis seriously.
The Obama Administration has used these kinds of budget tricks in the past, most notably when pushing Obamacare through early last year. Just last week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius admitted at a hearing on Capitol Hill that the administration double counted $500 billion in Medicare cuts. When pressed by Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill) on what the $500 billion was for -- preserving Medicare or funding Obamacare -- Secretary Sebelius unbelievably responded, "Both." The shenanigans that the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress pulled to pass Obamacare are finally coming to light and they are the same kind of tactics that the Obama Administration is employing in the current budget fight.
With less than ten legislative days to work out a deal, you would think the White House would be burning the midnight oil to avoid a shutdown. Last week, President Obama, in his infinite wisdom, appointed Vice President Joe Biden as the administration's point person in the budget talks. One problem: the Vice President is going to Europe this week and will not be able to participate. Meanwhile, President Obama played his 60th round of golf this weekend. If President Obama is concerned about a government shutdown, he and his administration are certainly not showing it.
One could surmise from all this that the White House actually wants a government shutdown because it thinks it will help the party politically. I am sure the liberal media is already scouting out potential stories of veterans not getting their healthcare or grandmothers not getting their social security checks in an attempt to pin blame on Republicans. And you can be sure that David Axelrod and others forming the President's reelection team would use those stories to their full advantage in the campaign.
America is facing a real fiscal crisis that needs serious attention, not smoke and mirrors and budget gimmicks from a White House with its eye on reelection. With our national debt climbing past $14 trillion, President Obama must be honest with the country about how to bring our unsustainable debt down. It is President Obama's time to lead, but judging from his recent actions, I suspect he will take the easy way out and not make any tough decisions that could affect his 2012 prospects.
Make no mistake; the next two years are about one thing for President Obama and his party: retaining control of the White House at any cost. Unfortunately, it is American taxpayers who will be picking up the tab.