Foto: AP/Jacquelyn Martin.
Først som sist: Obamas foreslåtte budsjett for 2012 (med en størrelse på 3.73 billioner dollar som sikter mot å kutte underskuddet med en billion dollar innen ti år) er et politisk veloverveid budsjettforslag som på den ene siden viker unna de vanskelige og nødvendige valgene som noen før eller siden må ta, og som på den andre siden kommer til å se ganske så annerledes ut etter at det er behandlet i Kongressen.
Republikanerne sitter heller ikke med løsningen, og har på sin side plassert skatteøkelser i fjøset sammen med andre hellige kuer.
Begge parter er livredde for å ta det første steget ut på en taubro med råtne planker så langt øyet kan se – rent politisk sett. De rådende kreftene i Washington, D.C. tror med andre ord ikke velgerne er klare for de virkelig tøffe tiltakene.
Hvordan presenterer Obama-administrasjonen budsjettforslaget?
United States Office of Management and Budget-direktør Jack Lew:
Like every family we have to tighten our belts and live within our means, while we’re investing in the things that we need to have a strong and secure future. We need to do that on a bipartisan basis, there’s no one side that has all the answers. We know that you have to stabilize where we’re going, before you can move on and solve the rest of the problem. This budget does that, it does it in a way that we look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to make policy for our country.
Kampen vil stå om investeringer i (eller utgifter til, dersom en bruker republikanernes vokabular) utdanning, energi/kraft, infrastruktur og innovasjon. Politico har med dette som bakteppe formulert følgende selvfølgelighet: ”Monday’s release of President Barack Obama’s new 2012 budget paints a stark contrast between his vision of government and that of House Republicans.”
Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) – formannen av Senatets budsjettkomité som ikke søker gjenvalg i 2012:
We need a much more robust package of deficit and debt reduction over the medium- and long-term. … It is not enough to focus primarily on cutting the non-security discretionary part of the budget, which accounts for just 12 percent of spending this year. Instead, we need a comprehensive long-term debt reduction plan. … It must include spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises more revenue.
Representant Paul Ryan (R-WI, 1. distrikt) – formann av budsjettkomiteen i Representantenes hus:
The President’s budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much – stifling job growth today and leaving our children with a diminished future. In this critical test of leadership, the President has failed to tackle the urgent fiscal and economic threats before us.
Failing to heed the warnings of economists and the demands of the American people, the President’s budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy. Far from ‘living within its means,’ the President’s budget puts the government on track to nearly double in size since the day he took office – a direct result of his party’s reckless spending spree. His budget destroys jobs by imposing a $1.6 trillion tax hike, adding $13 trillion to the national debt and fueling uncertainty in the private sector.
We cannot tax, spend and borrow our way to prosperity. Where the President has fallen short, Republicans will work to chart a new course – advancing a path to prosperity by cutting spending, keeping taxes low, reforming government, and rising to meet the challenges of our time.
Hva med kritikerne som går rundt med presidentambisjoner om dagen?
President Obama’s budget proposal is not a serious fiscal plan. By adding $7.2 trillion on top of an already unsustainable national debt, the President is putting America on a path towards insolvency. During these tough times, Washington must make the same tough decisions as families, businesses and state governments.
It’s especially disappointing that the President is refusing to reform runaway entitlement programs. We need to be honest with the American people and reform these programs before they bankrupt our nation.
After receiving the president’s budget today, we now know that the talk about spending cuts in his State of the Union address last month was just that: talk. President Obama’s budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. While Republicans in Congress continue to show their commitment to reducing our nation’s staggering debt and deficit through meaningful spending cuts and budget reforms, the president continues to advocate for more spending.
«For the sake of future generations, we cannot continue to ignore the looming fiscal crisis occurring in our nation. Instead of increasing spending, the president needs to work with Congress to find meaningful, bipartisan solutions to reduce our dangerous national debt, and ultimately grow our economy.
Today the White House finally produced its proposal for the 2012 budget. Beware of the left’s attempt to sell this as “getting tough on the deficit,” because as an analysis from Americans for Tax Reform shows, the White House’s plans are more about raising taxes and growing more government than reducing budget shortfalls.
The fine print reveals a White House proposal to increase taxes by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. If you want to know how minuscule their proposed $775 million-a-year budget “cuts” really are, please look at this chart. The proposed cuts are so insignificant – less than 1/10 of 1% of this year’s $1.65 trillion budget deficit – that they are essentially invisible on the pie chart. That speaks volumes about today’s budget.
The budget released today by President Obama tells a very clear story: we are writing checks our government cannot pay. … This budget also lacks a very critical component – it does not address entitlement reform. We cannot have an honest conversation about consequential spending cuts without reforming Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and repealing our country’s most recently enacted entitlement: Obamacare. We must also address the skyrocketing costs of running the federal government with an excessive number of new employees and the costs associated with federal benefits. Our elected officials must have the courage to be honest with the American people – even when politically difficult – that these issues must be tackled if we are to reduce our government’s spending.
(Jeg legger inn flere reaksjoner etterhvert..)
For litt over en uke siden uttalte tidligere Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY), co-chair av den Obama oppnevnte National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (som har kommet med forslag om tøffe kutt som tar den økonomiske situasjonen på blodig alvor), følgende:
I’m waiting for the politician to get up and say, there’s only one way to do this, you dig into the big four, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense.
And anybody giving you anything different than that, you want to walk out the door, stick your finger down your throat and give them the green weenie (phhhh).
Aftenpostens økonomiredaktør Ola Storeng uttalte på Dagsnytt 18 mandag kveld (der NUPIs/Dagens DCs Hilde E. Restad for øvrig gjorde en god figur) at budsjettforslaget er nok et eksempel på at problemene dyttes framover i tid.