Speaking to a celebrity studded fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Beverly Hills last night, President Barack Obama humbly proclaimed he “would put these first four months up against any prior administration since FDR.” Actually, let’s do that. Since taking office, President Obama has:
- Continued to fast-track government control of health care with a $33 billion expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which isn’t even limited to children and only worsened our nation’s health spending problem.
- Pushed through a $787 billion stimulus bill that essentially federalized the construction and renovation of public schools, began subsidizing health insurance for unemployed Americans regardless of income, create more than 30 new federal programs, effectively abolished the hugely successful 1996 welfare reform; and created a trillions dollars of new debt, to be dumped into the laps of our children and grandchildren.
- Passed an Omnibus spending bill that raised discretionary spending by 8%, contained 9,287 pork projects costing $13 billion, and spent $123 billion on programs for which government auditors can find no evidence of success.
- Used the $700 billion TARP slush fund to effectively nationalize General Motors, turn Chrysler over to the United Auto Workers union, and strong arm the nation’s banks into accepting taxpayer money and government control they did not want.
Near the end of his Beverly Hills remarks to the Hollywood elite, Obama promised, “Los Angeles, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Unfortunately President Obama may be right again. His upcoming agenda includes a trillion dollar energy tax, the stealth nationalization of the health care industry, and an economy killing rewrite of our nation’s labor laws.
There is an alternative. Instead of sentencing the American people to higher taxes and economic stagnation, we must rein in federal spending. Heritage fellow Brian Riedl outlines how:
First, stop digging: no more unaffordable government expansions. Then, grab the low-hanging fruit, such as $17 billion spent annually on earmarks, $25 billion spent on unused federal property, and $123 billion spent on programs for which government auditors can find no evidence of success.
Next, lawmakers should implement larger reforms: Require that the president’s $17 billion in “budget cuts” go towards deficit reduction rather than new spending. Rescind all remaining unspent “stimulus” dollars after the recession ends. Eliminate farm subsidies for large and profitable agribusinesses, which actually worsen the farm economy, and other forms of corporate welfare. Devolve functions like highways, economic development, education, housing, and antipoverty programs to state and local governments that are closest to the people. This would eliminate the expensive Washington middleman.
Finally, lawmakers must address the unsustainable growth of Social Security and Medicare. A logical place to start would be inflation-indexing Social Security benefits for upper-income seniors, and to stop over-subsidizing the Medicare B and D premiums for upper-income seniors.
- President Barack Obama told attendees at yesterday’s $30,400 a couple Beverly Hills fundraiser: “If it weren’t for you, we would not be in the White House.”
- The state of Nevada, where President Obama launched his “100 Days, 100 Projects” stimulus campaign, did not receive any of the projects named in Obama’s report.
- According to USA Today, the states hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government’s first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.
- The Obama administration will directly appoint six members to General Motors 13-member board of directors and the United Auto Workers get to appoint another.
- A group of teachers and community activists started a hunger strike Wednesday in protest of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s plan to lay off thousands of teachers.