If you listen NOT closely to President Obama, like most busy people must, you might think that the the budget will balanced in a few years, even though it won’t.
That’s because Obama is using language to obscure fact, moving the goalposts during the game by redefining his objectives to ones that are easier to reach.
Let’s take a look at the words he dribbled out about the budget during his press conference Tuesday. Few people seem to have understood what he was actually saying.
On the budget, what my budget does is to put forward some tough choices, some significant spending cuts, so that by the middle of this decade our annual spending will match our annual revenues. We will not be adding more to the national debt. So, to use a — sort of an analogy that families are familiar with, we’re not going to be running up the credit card any more.
Sounds like a balanced budget by the middle of the decade, right? Not at all.
Part of what everyone has to pay when they’re running a deficit is interest on their debt. It can be a big part of your monthly expenses, and it’s about 5 percent – and growing – of the entire federal budget. But the result being described by Obama of his “tough choices” excludes interest payments. “Spending” may “match revenues” – though this is debatable – but we’ll still be running a deficit because of interest payments.
So as a practical matter, what he is offering is totally meaningless. If I could stop paying interest on my mortgage, I’d be on a plane to Paris tomorrow.
Of course, Obama’s failure to actually, really balance the budget – including interest payments – is the fault of none other than President George W. Bush’s.
We still have all this accumulated debt as a consequence of the recession and as a consequence of a series of decisions that were made over the last decade. We’ve piled up, we’ve racked up a whole bunch of debt. And there is a lot of interest on that debt.
See what the president is up to here? If Obama can just match revenue to spending, he’ll have done his part. The interest on the accumulated debt is not his fault. Maybe Bush, if he has any decency, can somehow erase the rest of the deficit working out of his home in Dallas, where he’s retired.
Ending the actual deficit is not even the goal anymore, if you read Obama closely:
What we say in our budget is let’s get control of our discretionary budget to make sure that whatever it is that we’re spending on an annual basis we’re also taking in a similar amount. That’s step number one.
Step number two is going to make — is going to be how do we make sure that we’re taking on these long-term drivers and how do we start whittling down the debt.
So amont of the annual deficit due to interest payments no longer has to be eliminated by spending cuts or tax increases. Instead, we can continue to run a deficit, and slowly reduce the interest payments by “whittling down the debt.” Very slowly.
So welcome to the Magical Budgetworld of Obama. With just a few tweaks of the English language, we no longer have to balance the budget!
Maybe he is the Messiah.