Cam­paign prom­ises on spending . . . and now

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Winning an elec­tion isn’t enough to claim a man­date. Claim­ing a man­date de­pends on what the can­di­date promised, and Pres­i­dent Obama has bro­ken so many prom­ises dur­ing the first month-and-ahalf of his pres­i­dency that it is hard to keep track. Cer­tainly on eco­nomic pol­icy and the bud­get it is hard to see him claim­ing vir­tu­ally any man­date.

Last Oc­to­ber, Mr. Obama promised a net cut in gov­ern­ment. He promised no earmarks. He promised to limit tax in­creases on those mak­ing over $250,000 to just the restora­tion of tax rates at their lev­els un­der the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Take the third pres­i­den­tial de­bate: Mr. Obama railed against the bud­get deficit and promised to rein it in by cut­ting spending. When asked what he was go­ing to do about the deficit, Mr. Obama promised: “There is no doubt that we’ve been liv­ing be­yond our means and we’re go­ing to have to make some ad­just­ments. Now, what I’ve done through­out this cam­paign is to pro­pose a net spending cut.”

Or take the sec­ond pres­i­den­tial de­bate on Oct. 7, Mr. Obama noted that elim­i­nat­ing earmarks was “im­por­tant” but, even more im­por­tant, “I want to go line by line through ev­ery item in the fed­eral bud­get and elim­i­nate pro­grams that don’t work and make sure that those that do work, work bet­ter and cheaper.” This was his con­stant theme dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial de­bates to cut gov­ern­ment.

So how do you go from cam­paign­ing to cut gov­ern­ment spending and ban earmarks be­fore the elec­tion on Nov. 4 to talk­ing about a $500-to $700-bil­lion stim­u­lus plan in mid-Novem­ber? No one has asked Mr. Obama or his ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­actly what changed dur­ing this since the De­pres­sion, but mas­sively in­crease it if you can claim that things have got­ten a lit­tle worse two weeks later?

But it hasn’t just been the $787 bil­lion stim­u­lus plan. Now we have a $410 bil­lion pack­age “to keep the gov­ern­ment run­ning” through Septem­ber. This bill will in­crease fed­eral spending across a wide range of Cab­i­net de­part-

Mr. Obama blames Mr. Bush for the en­tire deficit even though Pres­i­dent Obama’s stim­u­lus, chil­dren’s health care, and bud­get in­crease all are be­ing passed by a Demo­cratic Congress and signed by Mr. Obama? Can any­one keep a straight face when hear­ing this?

Mr. Bush may have been a dis­as­ter on grow­ing gov­ern­ment, but there is a sim­ple rea­son why this 8 per­cent growth (on top of the stim­u­lus) and the earmarks didn’t go through last year. What the Democrats wanted was too much even for in­dul­gent Mr. Bush.

In Jan­uary 2008, the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice put out a 10-year gov­ern­ment-spending fore­cast. At the end of Mr. Bush’s spending spree, the CBO saw gov­ern­ment spending in 2009 at about $3 tril­lion, in­creas­ing to $4.3 tril­lion in 2018. The CBO now es­ti­mates that Pres­i­dent Obama’s plans will raise spending to $4.9 tril­lion in 2018 — about $550 mil­lion more than what Mr. Bush had planned. So where are Mr. Obama’s promised cuts in gov­ern­ment spending? The Paul Bun­yan chop­per has be­come the Johnny Ap­ple­seed planter.

If Mr. Obama sim­ply waited un­til af­ter the elec­tion to re­veal his pol­icy views, he can’t claim a man­date for his “new” poli­cies. What should re­ally be ques­tioned re­gard­ing this mat­ter is Pres­i­dent Obama’s truth­ful­ness to the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

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