Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 21, 2009
POLITICS: Barack Obama Thinks You Can't Count
[W]hat I've proposed, you'll hear Sen. McCain say, well, he's proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut.

-Barack Obama, Second Presidential Debate, October 7, 2008.

OBAMA: ...[W]hat I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. I haven't made a promise about...

SCHIEFFER: But you're going to have to cut some of these programs, certainly.

OBAMA: Absolutely. So let me get to that. What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches.

-Barack Obama, Third Presidential Debate, October 15, 2008.

If ever a public policy proposal deserved universal ridicule, it has to be President Obama's effort to convince the public that [cue Dr. Evil voice] 100 million dollars in spending cuts are a significant dent in federal spending. Since Obama looked the nation in the eye and made that read-my-lips promise of a net spending cut in those two debates, we have sat and watched as he signed into law a colossal $787 billion 'stimulus' bill, proposed a $634 billion fund to begin offsetting the projected trillion-dollar cost of his health care plans, and unveiled a $3.6 trillion budget that's projected to consume 26% of GDP, the biggest share for federal spending since World War II (it hasn't been above 21% since the last budget before the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994).

Francis Cianfrocca notes the puny relative size of this proposal:

That's 0.0027% of his first budget, and 0.0057% of his first deficit.

To put this start toward a net cut into terms that every American can visualize, this is roughly like having a baseball team made up of 3,600 Alex Rodriguezes downsize by cutting one-tenth of an A-Rod from the team.

You could also do the baseball analogy and note that the proposed cuts are smaller than the $117 million contract the Rockies signed with Mike Hampton. Republicans have pointed out that the federal government spends $100 million every 13 minutes; this morning's NY Daily News had a longer list of amusing analogies, from the budget for Titanic to the cost of Mike Bloomberg's re-election campaign. The Heritage Foundation has perhaps the most telling graph:

Obama's Tiny Budget Cuts

Even the White House press corps, led by arch-liberal AP reporter Jennifer Loven and the indefatigable Jake Tapper, scoffed at this nonsense, leaving the hapless Robert Gibbs vainly trying to defend Obama's proposal with a straight face:

JENNIFER LOVEN, AP: The $100 million target figure that the president talked about today with the Cabinet, can you explain why so small? I know he talked about -- you know, you add up 100 million and 100 million, and eventually, you get somewhere, but it would take an awfully long time to add up hundred million (inaudible) in the deficit. Why not target a bigger number?

GIBBS: (Smiling) Well, I think only in Washington, D.C. is a hundred million dollars...

LOVEN: The deficit's very large. It's not a joke.

GIBBS: No, I'm...

LOVEN: The deficit's giant. $100 million really is only a step.

GIBBS: But no joke.

LOVEN: You sound like you're joking about it, but it's not funny.

GIBBS: I'm not making jokes about it. I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money. It is where I'm from. It is where I grew up. And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.

LOVEN: The point is it's not a very big portion of the deficit.

TAPPER: You were talking about an appropriations bill a few weeks ago about $8 billion being minuscule -- $8 billion in earmarks. We were talking about that and you said that that...

GIBBS: Well, in terms of -- in...(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: ...$100 million is a lot but $8 billion is small?

Those of us who had paid any attention to the man's record knew that Obama was lying to us last October when he claimed to be proposing a net reduction in federal spending. Hold your breath if you like waiting for the remaining trillion or so dollars in spending cuts he'd need to do that. The only possible reason I can think for the fanfare surrounding the $100 million in cuts is literally Obama's belief that he can fool voters who do not know the difference between a million, a billion and a trillion. So there you have it: Barack Obama thinks you can't count.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:45 PM | Politics 2009 | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Obama is counting on our public school indoctrination. After all, it's really hard to think.

Posted by: Foxwood at April 21, 2009 4:49 PM

This is what happens when you make up stuff as you go along. It's been the theme of Obama for the last year. Make announcements and take actions as if they were in a vacuum, thinking that the public doesn't look at the context and any prior actions and announcements. Not only does Pres. Obama think we can't count, he also thinks we have very short memories, and that we will naturally accept this nonsense. And judging by the past, can you blame him entirely for thinking this of us?

Frankly, this isn't just done by Pres. Obama's. It's done by all government officials and it's been happening for a long time. We're getting the leaders we apparently have been asking for.

Posted by: per14 at April 21, 2009 4:49 PM

If the ONE had done something as menial as caddy , bartend or wait tables he'd realize what an insult this was to fiscal conservatives.

You'd rather get no tip at all than to get a dime tip and have the customer act like he's doing you a great favor.

For a guy whose accomplished little except adding debt and fielding insults he's awful haugthy, now isn't he.

Posted by: ironman at April 21, 2009 7:07 PM

I'm willing to grant that things have changed since October, and it's reasonable to adjust one's positions when the facts change. But first of all, I didn't believe Obama then, and secondly, $100 million doesn't even work as a symbolic gesture of "Really, I do mean to do something about the deficit, just not yet".

Posted by: Jerry at April 21, 2009 8:17 PM

Per Rasmussen, 54-45 approval rating. Strongly approve vs. strongly disapprove +2. Trillion dollar annual deficits for the forseeable future.Unemployment is going to keep going up for a while. Gas prices will start going when demand increases up since lefties have done everything they can do to limit 1)oil production in this country 2) nuclear power in this country 3) natural gas in this country and 4) coal in this country. In about a year to 20 months, we should see the return of 1970s era inflation due to all the cash being pumped into the economy. He keeps going around the world and showing nothing but weakness and timidity to our enemies.

He is a complete and total empty suit. Way over his head with no idea what to do.

Posted by: dch at April 22, 2009 9:56 AM

You have to wonder what they were thinking. Better to do nothing than this.

Posted by: spongeworthy at April 22, 2009 1:20 PM

When it comes to spending increases, $8 billion is lunch money. When it comes to non-defense spending cuts, $100 million is a lot of money. When it comes to tax cuts on anyone who is already paying taxes, $1 million is gargantuan and unthinkable.

Posted by: Jed at April 22, 2009 7:40 PM
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