The Edmond Sun

Local News

April 10, 2013

Obama budget draws criticism

EDMOND — President Barack Obama announced his $3.77 trillion budget for 2014 on Wednesday, while drawing criticism from both the left and the right. Obama said his plan would cut yearly deficits by $1.8 trillion over the next decade.

“If we want to keep rebuilding our economy on a stronger, more stable foundation, then we’ve got to get smarter about our priorities of this nation,” Obama said. “It is a fiscally responsible blueprint for jobs and growth.”

Obama called for cuts to entitlement programs by trimming Medicare and Social Security. Key budget facts, according to the White House, includes:

• job creation by responsibly paying for investments in education, manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure and small business.

• $1.8 trillion of additional deficit reduction over 10 years, bringing total deficit reduction achieved to $4.3 trillion.

• Represents more than $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of new revenue from closing tax loopholes and reducing tax benefits for the wealthiest.

• Deficit is reduced to 2.8 percent of GDP by 2016 and 1.7 percent by 2023 with debt declining as a share of the economy, while protecting the investments we need to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.

• Includes $400 billion in health savings that crack down on waste and fraud to strengthen Medicare for years to come.

Increases in spending would focus on early childhood education, research technology and public works.

“Perpetual deficit spending is bad for our economy and bad for the economy our children and grandchildren will inherit,” said Congressman James Lankford, R-Edmond. “The president’s budget fails to adequately address the cause of our nation’s $16.7 trillion debt — deficit spending.”

Federal deficit spending has decreased during the Obama administration from $1.2 trillion in 2009 to $0.97 trillion in 2013, according to usgovernmentspending.com. The federal debt does not include Social Security and Medicare.

“When it comes to his budget request for defense, the president failed to address the unprecedented resource challenges facing our military and failed to even acknowledge the mandatory cuts associated with sequestration,” said U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.

Obama called for a reasonable debate that is not driven by politics, but common sense and compromise. Lankford was one of a group of Republicans who met with Obama recently to discuss the budget. Congress should move forward to deliver a budget reflecting common areas of agreement, Lankford said.

“While we may not agree on every portion of the blueprint for our nation’s future, there are areas we can agree on,” Lankford said.

Lankford hears a lot of people in Washington, D.C., say the national debt is getting smaller, Lankford said.

“What they mean is we are overspending less now than what we did two years ago, but the debt continues to rise still,” Lankford said. “People have got to keep those two things in mind and people try to trick you to say they’re interchangeable. They’re not interchangeable.”

The $16.6 trillion national debt is not decreasing, Lankford said.

“Deficit is how much we overspend in single year,” Lankford said. “Debt is a collection of all those deficits over time, of how much debt we actually have as a nation.”

Interest only payments have being made on the national debt, Lankford said. The debt continues to increase without payments to lower the principle debt itself. Interest payments of $857 billion a year are anticipated within 10 years with the current course of government.

“That doesn’t take any of the debt away. That’s only managing the interest payment,” he reiterated. “Right now it’s $224 billion this year just in our interest and there’s no decrease in it.”

Obama was set to meet with a dozen Republican senators Wednesday night to promote his plan, according to National Public Radio.

TO LEARN MORE about the federal debt and deficit, visit http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/

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