Concern over the explosion in government debt caused by an apparent new normal of yawning deficits is a major barrier to the to the President’s agenda of dramatically expanded government power. Thus, he opened his State of the Union speech with an attempt to minimize the significance of his deficits by claiming:
…we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.
He has made this assertion several times in recent weeks as part of three, creative bookkeeping steps:
- Simply assert that $4 trillion in “deficit reduction” over ten or more years, or a theoretical average of $400 billion per year is enough, even though it’s less than a third of the government’s average $1.3 trillion deficit.
- Claim to be “more than halfway” to $4 trillion in part by counting as “cuts” a trillion the government won’t spend from 2013 to 2021 on the Iraq war that ended in 2011, and from 2015 to 2021 on the Afghanistan war he promises will end next year.
- Count recent tax hikes on top bracket tax payers, most of whom are business owners as a net income tax revenue increase of $65 billion per year from 2013 through 2021.
After brushing deficits aside the President turned to what he really cares about and what always bring cheers from his progressive base and the sympathetic media, expanding government’s power and reach. He prefaced his list of marvelous, new ideas with this assurance:
…nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.
Following is a partial list of his ideas and proposals that somehow won’t cost the government anything and thus won’t “increase our deficit by a single dime:”
- A “network of 15 manufacturing hubs” where somehow “businesses will partner with” various government agencies to turn whole regions into “centers of high tech jobs.”
- Increased “investments in science and innovation” to “reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.”
- More “investments” in wind and solar energy. Does he think we’ve already forgotten his previous “investments” in more than 30 companies, including Solyndra, SpectraWatt, Beacon Power, A123 Systems, Abound Solar, Mountain Plaza, Raser Technologies, and Stirling Energy Systems that went into bankruptcy, after squandering billions of taxpayer dollars?
- “I’m issuing a new goal for America: Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.” As we’ve seen for decades, this means subsidies, either in the form of direct cash payments or tax credits for installing insulation & retrofitting “green” stuff.
- A new jobs program that sounds an awful lot like the old “shovel ready” from 2009 “to put people to work on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.”
- Funding preschool “for every single child in America”
- Redesign “all of America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.” Does “redesign” also include rebuilding?
- Tax credits to businesses that hire and invest.
One wonders, why not simply give tax and regulatory relief to all businesses so they’ll all be in a better position to hire and invest?
If it strikes you as preposterous that government can accomplish even one item from the President’s fanciful wishlist and not “increase our deficit by a single dime” maybe you’re just too much of a slave to common sense.