Saturday, July 16, 2011

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Rep. Paul Ryan
A Record of Fiscal Recklessness Undermines Rhetoric of Fiscal Responsibility

While President Obama has recently professed a newfound – and vague – desire to cut government spending, it’s useful to recall what the President has actually done since taking office in 2009. The President signed into law a massive spending spree that plunged us deeper into debt, and failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs. 
  • 24% Increase in Base Spending. Non-defense discretionary spending grew by 24% for the first two years of the Obama Administration, adding $734 billion in spending over the next 10 years.

  • Record Government Spending. The Federal government will spend $3.6 trillion this year, 24% of gross domestic product (GDP) and the highest burden on the economy since World War II. Spending has historically averaged a little over 20% of GDP.

  • President’s Budget Makes Matter Worse. According to CBO, the President’s budget never spends less than 23% of GDP and by the end of the decade rises to 24% of GDP.  His budget’s failure to address the drivers of our debt threatens the health and retirement security of America’s seniors, and the economic security of all Americans.  The President’s budget seeks to spend $46 trillion in government spending over the next decade, and has subsequently fought against House Republican efforts to restrain his spending appetite down to $43.5 trillion.

  • Lip Service Provided When Leadership is Needed. Embarrassed by the fundamental unseriousness of his budget, the President responded to the fiscal leadership demonstrated by House Republicans with a partisan speech describing a “Framework” for reducing the deficit.  Despite repeated requests for details, his rhetoric has still not been backed up with substance that would allow independent analysis of his claims. In fact, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf testified, “We don’t estimate speeches. We need much more specificity than was provided in that speech for us to do our analysis.”
During the daily deficit talks the President has been hosting at the White House, the President has yet to offer any real spending reductions that would result in meaningful changes to our nation’s fiscal path.  Until the President publicly offers a detailed spending reduction plan, all we can judge him on is his record.  And that record is disappointing.


Table 1 details both defense and non-defense discretionary spending, excluding emergencies. The table breaks spending into base budget increases and stimulus spending on top. Democrats’ appropriation bills increased non-defense discretionary spending by nearly 25 percent – an 84 percent increase when you include the stimulus.  The Republican House took the lead in bringing an end to this out-of-control spending and reduced non-defense discretionary spending by 7 percent.

Table 1

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