Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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SUN EDITORIAL:

A budget for the future

Obama’s plan has a long-range outlook, unlike the Republicans’ proposal

The plan President Barack Obama released Monday takes a reasonable approach toward the nation’s budget, making significant cuts aimed at reducing the federal deficit. The White House says the plan would cut more than $1 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.

But Obama’s budget isn’t just about cuts. It also includes plans to spur federal spending on education, technology and infrastructure, all areas that will help the nation economically now and into the future. Investments in all those areas, particularly education, will help the nation compete in the world economy.

His plan garnered a knee-jerk reaction from Republicans in Congress who said it didn’t cut enough. Obama said the budget was just a “down payment” on future deficit reduction efforts. His proposal wisely tries a balanced approach, which will help the nation. In a news conference Tuesday, Obama said he was looking toward the future.

“My job is to make sure that we’re focused over the long term: Where is it that we need to go?” Obama said. “And the most important thing I can do as president is make sure that we’re living within our means, getting a budget that is sustainable, investing in the future and growing the economy.”

Obama once again emphasized that reducing the deficit is vital, referring to the work of a blue-ribbon commission that issued its report last year. He noted that although he didn’t agree with all of the commission’s recommendations, he said it “changed the conversation” by providing a framework of ideas.

“My hope is that what’s different this time is we have an adult conversation where everybody says, ‘Here’s what’s important and here’s how we’re going to pay for it,’ ” he said.

For the country to move ahead, there will need to be serious discussions about reforming entitlement programs, as well as other government services, and that will mean tough decisions. Social Security and government health care programs, such as Medicare, account for more than 40 percent of federal spending. Defense spending and veterans’ benefits make up more than 20 percent of the budget.

Are Republicans ready to have an adult conversation on those topics? It doesn’t appear so, judging from a plan House Republicans released Friday. Their proposal for the current fiscal year, which ends in September, would make draconian cuts to many important government programs, particularly services for the nation’s poor and vulnerable.

Pushed by the Tea Party, House Republicans have taken a hard-line approach and appear intent on using the economic downturn as a way to carry out their ideological views. But if they really were serious about fiscal responsibility, they would have opposed extending the Bush-era tax cuts last year to the wealthiest of Americans instead of making them the linchpin to a budget deal.

It’s time for Republicans to get real. People need help, and they should be working with the president for the good of all Americans. Of course there will be disagreements, but there are certainly sensible ways to rein in spending and cut the deficit, as the president has demonstrated.

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  1. Geez, do these guys ever tired of writing the same "Democrats/Obama-Good, Republicans Bad" editorial? Just look at the past week editorials alone and it's the same tired "Republicans want to cram Yucca mountain down our throats", "Republicans hate the EPA", "Republicans want to gut services", "Republicans stalling progress" kind of stuff. Meanwhile never one adverse word about Democrats or the Democrat Party. They of course can do no wrong in the eyes of the shills that write for this paper.

  2. I totally agree with the posts of Robert Glancy and Birdiedreamin.
    I get almost sick every time I listen to Obama and hear the stupidity and lies coming out of his mouth. His proposed budget does nothing but defer the pain to a later date when, hopefully he believes, America will be booming again and the annual deficit and accumulated debt will melt away like the lies on his tongue.
    Shame on the Las Vegas Sun for taking such a one-sided stand on not just this proposed budget, but on everything Obama. The readers know that you hate the Republicans. But that doesn't mean you should believe everything that slithers out of Obama's mouth.

  3. It doesn't make much sense when I look and listen to the talk on the budget. The President said that he will halve the deficit by the end of his first term and that we'll have a balanced budget by the middle of the decade, but at the same time the projections say that we rack up $12T more in debt in the next ten years. That does not add up. $1T in savings out of what otherwise would be $13T in debt is not much gain. That's less than 8% over ten years. It has been said that the deficits in his budget never get below $700B, but if he cuts the current deficit in half by 2012, we are almost there, then what happens? Plus, his assumptions on tax collections and economic growth are higher than virtually any other entity. One thing I learned a long time ago is that if you take the most optimistic numbers for your assumptions, you almost always get burned. It is often better to hedge a little to the pessimistic side and be pleasantly surprised when you do better than you thought. Plus, President Obama is only currently working out of about 16% of the budget for cuts. With 40% of the budget being deficit, you could eliminate that entire part of the budget and not get us balanced. And while he has said that we are getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the budget assumes we would have stayed for the next decade and then counts as savings us pulling out. It is typical Washington budget magic. I do give the President credit for admitting that there was a lot of work yet to be done and that we would need bipartisan efforts to get there. But it seems like he was just kicking the can over to Congress to work out any significant cuts. We can only hope that someone actually steps up before we melt down the system.

  4. "Social Security and government health care programs, such as Medicare, account for more than 40 percent of federal spending. Defense spending and veterans' benefits make up more than 20 percent of the budget."

    Social Security and Medicare may take up 40% of the budget however, we pay directly into these programs. We do not pay directly into a fund for wars, that comes out of our federal income taxes. It is discretionary as to where that money goes. If they are going to cut back on SS and Medicare, then lower what I pay into those programs.
    It's time to take a look at all of the spending for the military and other discretionary programs and do some cutting.

  5. Clinton decreased deficit as a percentage of GDP by 10%, Bush increased it 20%.

  6. cut 1.5 Trillion for a start.