[FoRK] Obama wins? Deficit now cut by $4 trillion

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sun Mar 3 20:22:13 PST 2013

President Obama "had to" sign the sequestration cuts into law last night.  I can hear it from here: "Oh please don't make me do 
it!" "If you don't like any part of this, blame the GOP."

So, Obama wanted and promised $4T reduction over 10 years, everyone said it couldn't be done, and now he's done it, barely into 
his second term.  Were the GOP (and some Dems too maybe) just gamed?  He has plausible deniability for painful cuts with Dems 
and pulled off major cuts in defense etc.  Managed not to cut anything for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  Obamacare 
is still in place.  Game over?

Or you could assign success to Congress, but that's probably not how it will play.  Maybe they all colluded to have plausible 
deniability for responsibility for decisions or shirking principles.

If Obama quit now and played obstructionist from now on, would he be the most fiscally successful president for decades past 
(and probably future)?
Probably won't hold or hold to scrutiny, but it's an interesting prospect.

To work well, we'd have to come up with a solution for creating jobs, improving quality and efficiency of education, reducing 
health care, etc.  But we have those problems anyway, although this is expected to cause 700,000 job losses.

I could work with this.  There is plenty that could be done to spur jobs and increase various efficiencies.  There is plenty of 
Federal land, plenty of things states could be pushed into doing with the right support.  Plenty of foreign related 
opportunity.  Re: Federal land: Many options, but for instance: where things could be built with Makerville-like arrangements 
that wouldn't necessarily cost anything in Federal dollars, using a long-term lease and special status.  You could start with 
Indian reservations even.

> Carolyn Kaster
> Congress, Obama cut deficit by $4 trillion — on paper
> President Barack Obama gestures Friday as he speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington. On paper, 
> President Obama and Congress have reduced projected deficits by nearly $4 trillion through 2023.
> Posted: Sunday, March 3, 2013 4:00 am
> By JACKIE CALMES New York Times News Service
> WASHINGTON — The latest budget impasse ushered in a new round of austerity Saturday, with the nation facing reduced federal 
> services, canceled contracts, job furloughs and layoffs.
> But lost in the talk of Washington’s dysfunction is this fact: On paper at least, President Barack Obama and Congress have 
> reduced projected deficits by nearly $4 trillion over a decade — the widely embraced goal for stabilizing the national debt.
> The spending cuts that began to take effect Friday, known as sequestration and totaling about $1 trillion through 2023, come 
> on top of $1.5 trillion in reductions that Obama and Congress committed to in 2011, mainly from the accord that averted the 
> nation’s first debt default.
> Nearly $700 billion more will come from tax increases on wealthy Americans, the product of the brawl in December over Bush-era 
> tax cuts, and another $700 billion is expected to be saved in projected interest on the reduced debt.
> If the latest cuts stick, the two parties will have achieved nearly the full amount of deficit reduction over the next decade 
> that economists and market analysts have promoted. Yet the mix comes with substantial downsides.
> It does not add up to the “grand bargain” that the two parties had been seeking, because it leaves virtually untouched the 
> entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that are responsible for projections of an unsustainably 
> rising federal debt in coming decades.
> “This is not a result that deals with our long-term debt problem,” said Vin Weber, a Republican former congressman. “The fact 
> we’ve gotten to a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal without tackling entitlements is almost a bad thing,” he added, if it 
> lulls the public and the politicians into thinking the problem is solved.
> Job creation hampered
> The progress on deficit reduction during the past two years will also probably hamper job creation and the economic recovery. 
> Private and government forecasters project that sequestration alone will cost about 700,000 jobs this year and will shave at 
> least a half percentage point from economic growth. The Congressional Budget Office now forecasts a falling deficit but high 
> unemployment.
> For Democrats, at least, the mix of spending cuts and tax increases in the package is another reason for disappointment. The 
> deficit deals to date would yield $4 in spending cuts for every dollar of new revenue. Obama, as well as several bipartisan 
> groups, including the commission led by Erskine Bowles and Alan K. Simpson, call for $1 of tax increases for every $2 to $3 in 
> spending cuts.

>  Obama says he’s "put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan."
> Barack Obama on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012 in the first presidential debate
> Obama says he will cut deficits by $4 trillion
> In the first presidential debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney disagreed sharply over who had the best way to rein in 
> federal deficits.
> Romney relies on spending cuts and reshaping the tax code. The first would make it easier to reach fiscal balance and the 
> second would spur growth that would fill the government coffers with higher tax revenues, he says.
> Obama favors what he calls a balanced approach. It uses a mix of spending cuts and a variety of tax and fee increases to curb 
> the deficit .
> "I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, Obama said. "You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we 
> make and what revenue we raise. And the way we do it is $2.50 for every cut, we ask for $1 of additional revenue."

> Is Obama’s $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan for real?
> Posted by Ezra Klein on September 6, 2012 at 11:21 am
> In his fact check of the second night of the Democratic National Convention, my colleague Glenn Kessler zeroed in on Bill 
> Clinton’s claim that “[Obama] has offered a reasonable plan of $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade.”
> Are Obama’s budget proposals for real?
> Kessler has three problems with this comment. First, he says, it is “counting some $1 trillion in cuts reached a year ago in 
> budget negotiations with Congress.” Second, “the administration is also counting $848 billion in phantom savings from winding 
> down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the administration had long made clear those wars would end.” Third, “the 
> administration also counts $800 billion in savings in debt payments (from lower deficits) as a ‘spending cut,’ which is a 
> dubious claim.”

> ABC: Obama Falsely Claims He Has a Plan to Cut $4 Trillion from the Deficit
> 12:43 AM, Oct 4, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
> "I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan," President Obama said during his debate with Mitt Romney on 
> Wednesday night. "It's on a website. You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise."
> ABC's Jon Karl correctly calls Obama's claim "mostly fiction."
>     Does President Obama have a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion?
>     No.  The “$4 trillion plan” he is referring to includes about $1 trillion Congress has already agreed to and $1 trillion 
> in savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are already ending.
>     This would be Mostly Fiction.
> The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has also noted Obama's claim is "simply not accurate," and pointed out that “virtually no 
> serious budget analyst agreed” with the administration’s accounting. Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon has more on 
> Obama's false budget claim:

> The Deficit Reduction We Have Achieved So Far
> President Obama fiscal cliff speech
> SOURCE: AP/Charles Dharapak
> President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the fiscal cliff, Monday, December 31, 2012, in the South Court Auditorium 
> at the White House in Washington.
> By Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger | January 8, 2013
> Since the start of fiscal year 2011, President Barack Obama has signed into law approximately $2.4 trillion of deficit 
> reduction for the years 2013 through 2022. Nearly three-quarters of that deficit reduction is in the form of spending cuts, 
> while the remaining one-quarter comes from revenue increases. (see Figure 1) As a result of that deficit reduction, the 
> projected rise in debt levels from today through 2022 has decreased by nearly 10 full percentage points of gross domestic 
> product. In fact, under today’s policies, debt levels in 2022—as a share of GDP—will be only slightly higher than they are 
> expected to be by the end of next year. That doesn’t mean there is no more work to be done, but it does show we’ve come a long 
> way already.


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