The last time Obama tried to sound “fiscally responsible” it was a big joke. This time Obama’s effort is tragic. I exposed Obama’s agenda in my post “When Your Spin Fails” as an effort to create media coverage about fiscal responsibility to offset spending coverage. Today, Obama announced he was cutting $17 billion from his $3.44 trillion dollar budget. This time it is the Republicans exposing the effort as half-hearted.
The spin on this little gem is not solely on the amount, that is of course part of it and $17 billion is much more money than $100 million. No, the big spin on this one is to hype up the number of programs getting a cut. The purpose of which is to try and show how hard Obama worked to come up with the cuts. You see he was only looking at 3 departments in his $100 million dollar savings, that's truely not as much of an effort as 121 programs. He even detailed these cuts in a 1,300 page document to prove his effort (according to an AU source. Sorry I lost the link). Below is from the AP:
“President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday to eliminate or trim 121 federal programs for a savings of $17 billion in the coming budget year.”
This time it was Obama and not Robert Gibbs echoing:
“Some of the cuts we're putting forward today are more painful than others. Some are larger than others. In fact a few of the programs we eliminate will produce less than a million dollars in savings. Outside of Washington, that's still a lot of money.”
So let’s put this number into perspective. His cuts are 170 times higher than his last attempt of $100 million. However, he would need to make 85 cuts of the same size to cover the deficit he is proposing in his budget. For the purpose of perspective, he would need to make this cut 35 times to cover Bush’s deficit.
The best part of the story is that some of Obama’s cuts mirror those that Bush requested, but were rejected by house democrats. The President has changed, but not the congress as his own congressional counterparts have already rejected many of Obama’s cuts.
The area that Obama will cut the most is defense. However, he and the house are proposing a $130 billion spending bill for defense later this year. Tell me, if you cut $10 billion from the budget, but are working on a $130 billion spending bill outside the budget for next year, has any cut really happened?
The true test to whether Obama is serious about fiscal responsibility will be in how hard he's willing to fight with congress to get the cuts passed. I'm willing to bet it won't even make it to round 1. However, I suppose the media will have to give him credit for all the hard work in thinking it up.