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Posted at 8:26 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Jacob Lew's no good, horrible day

By Jennifer Rubin

OMB director Jacob Lew was grilled first by the House Budget Committee and then by its Senate counterpart. On the House side, Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) let him have it. In his opening remarks, Ryan made clear how far off base is Obama's proposal:

Instead of confronting our debt head on, the President has presented us with a budget that spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much. His budget would double the amount of debt held by the public by the end of his term - and triple it by the tenth anniversary of his inauguration.

To be sure, our country was already on an unsustainable trajectory before he took office. Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. Both parties share the blame.

Nevertheless, this President's policies have accelerated us down this disastrous path. He has made our spending problems worse with policies such as the failed stimulus and the new health care entitlement.

He has argued for massive tax increases that would stifle economic growth and make our fiscal picture worse -- this budget alone contains $1.6 trillion in higher taxes on American families, businesses and entrepreneurs.

And on our nation's most pressing fiscal challenges, the President has abdicated his leadership role. First, he punted to a bipartisan commission to develop solutions to the problem.

Then, when his own commission put forward a set of fundamental entitlement and tax reforms, he ignored them. Erskine Bowles, the Democratic chairman of the fiscal commission, said the White House budget request goes "nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare."

He even failed to take the commission's advice on less sensitive subjects, such as discretionary spending: His budget would increase discretionary spending by $353 billion relative to the commission's proposals.

And it didn't get any easier thereafter for Lew

Later in the day, in a moment of high drama and remarkable clarity in the Senate, the top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), delivered this tongue-lashing to Lew:

The president may have underestimated the fortitude of his political opponents and the disgust many Americans feel about the failure of government to live -- even remotely -- within its means.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 16, 2011; 8:26 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Next: Is Haley Barbour done yet?


“Deeds, nor words”

It is evident that Obama’s whole approach to governing is to speechify. He has often been called narcissistic, and the focal point of his narcissism is his faith in rhetoric. For more than two years now he has been milking the talent that got him to be first the Democratic candidate for President and then actually President. Apparently he thinks this is a winning strategy that will carry him right on through the next election cycle and into a second term, when the Kool-aid drinkers assert Obama will suddenly become a great leader, like Venus born from the waves. Not likely. By that time even the Kool-aid drinkers will know that the emperor has no clothes; but no double MSNBC will still be trying to cover him up.

Posted by: nvjma | February 16, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Abdicator In Chief?"

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | February 16, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Liar in Chief"

Imagine an individual deeply in debt saying that in a few years he would be spending no more than he earns -- except for interest payments. Except for interest payments?! Interest payments will squeeze out everything else and burden our children and grandchildren for generations. These irresponsible liars should be run out of Washington. We're headed for a Greek-style fiscal crisis, as Obama's own commission has told us.

Posted by: eoniii | February 16, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The president's (and Lew's) approach is essentially that he is balancing the budget except for interest payments on the debt, which was run up by the previous administration. That is like saying that I overreached by buying more house than I could afford eight years ago, but now I am living within my means because, except for paying the mortgage, I am not spending more than I earn. What a joke.

Posted by: jpfred | February 16, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Kessler has already destroyed Ryan, and I don't think Jack Lew really cares what Jennifer Rubin thinks about his day.

Posted by: Observer691 | February 16, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Kessler has already destroyed Ryan, and I don't think Jack Lew really cares what Jennifer Rubin thinks about his day.

Posted by: Observer691
Are you a clown or do you just play one on blogs?

Even liberals, such as the WP editorial board, have commented on the transparently dishonest approach taken by the administration in this budget. Saying the budget is balanced by ignoring interest expense is too shoddy even for government work.

The budget also uses ridiculous gimmicks. Megan McCardle describes in her blog the ten years of phony, will-never-happen savings that are used to offset the two-year actual cost of the perennial "doctor fix". Bernie Madoff is in prison for less fraudulent tricks than this one.

The budget also assumes a ten-year Treasury bond rate of 3%, although the CBO assumes 3.4% and the current rate is 3.65%.
For every point the actual rate exceeds the forecast 3%, the actual interest cost will be $1.3 trillion higher over ten years.

So what happens if the Fed's quantitative easing (printing of money) causes interest rates to sky-rocket as they did in the Carter years? We'll be insolvent! This is criminally irresponsible.

Posted by: eoniii | February 16, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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