For my inaugural post, I thought I’d discuss this NYT article, “Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal” by Jackie Calmes.
In the article, the NYT has Obama proposing “cuts” to Social Security / Medicare. However, these aren’t cuts at all, but a mere .2% reduction in the rate that spending INCREASES. For example, these “cuts” would have Social Security growing 5.9% over the next decade, rather than 6.1% (source). Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good idea. But when your country is running record deficits every year, has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 1:1, and a 5.9% increase is called a “cut,” you start to wonder a little.
In return, Obama asks for more tax increases. Three months since last tax increase = too long, apparently. Calmes claims that January’s tax increases were levied on “wealthy individuals” and “the affluent.” However, HuffPo reported that the deal raised taxes on a full 77% of American households. For context, a worker earning $50k now pays another $1k in taxes, relative to 2012. Don’t terms like “wealthy” and “affluent” lose their meaning when they’re applied to more than 3/4 of Americans?
Obama deserves applause for proposing a change to a more realistic measure of inflation, the chained C.P.I. Apparently, however, some Democrats are “infuriated” that entitlements might not continue to grow faster than actual inflation. Kudos to the prez on this one.
The president is also proposing spending increases for helping states give free pre-k education. I would hope these programs aren’t modeled after the failed Head Start program, on which we continue to waste billions despite the administration’s own Health and Human Services study confirming its inefficacy. It’s too bad he couldn’t spend it on a program that actually worked, like this one that he cut funding for while he delayed release of a Department of Education study showing that it worked. It’s disappointing to see the administration miss this chance for data-driven policy.