Seven Reasons Conservatives Should Love the New Obama Budget
by Byrne Hobart
The Dow is back down to where it was last time we had a charismatic Democratic president making big, budget-busting promises. And this time, there’s not an intern in sight to spoil the party. We all know we’re in for a giant spending spree: billions for solar-powered underwater basket-weaving communes, all paid for by taxes on people who, y’know, make stuff and do stuff.
But is it that big a disaster? Obama spent ten years teaching at the University of Chicago, a center of modern conservative thought. Did a decade of rubbing shoulders with Milton Friedman’s disciples rub off on him at all?
The answer is yes. In his budget speech last week, he announced several new programs that are near and dear to conservatives. Here’s why you should be excited about Obama’s new budget:
- Did you like Ike? Obama’s infrastructure plan is finishing what Eisenhower started. Fifty years after Eisenehower spearheaded the new interstate highway systems, we’re finally going to stop scrimping on maintainence. Ike wouldn’t want to see bridges falling; neither should you.
- Know what he means when he says ‘reform’. The people who voted for Obama didn’t vote for spending cuts. But that’s just what Obama promised when he talked about unemployment insurance. He just happened to call them ‘reform’. Just like with Clinton and welfare, ‘reform’ is Obama’s code word for giving conservatives what they want and not telling liberals what’s up. Shhhh — don’t tell them.
…despite the efforts of States to reduce improper beneft payments, over $3.9 billion in UI benefts were erroneously paid in 2008. The Administration will tackle this problem…
- He hasn’t given up on homeland security, and he’s growing the DoD. He might see it as make-work, but at least he knows there’s work to be done. Obama plans to increase the size of the military, which amounts to a get-out-the-vote campaign for future Republicans.
- His energy plan means less Saudi oil money and less government spending. Perhaps he’s just doing it to ensure that America’s soy latte production doesn’t endager the lives of the semi-striped South Andean tree snail, but Barack Obama is doing a lot to increase domestic energy production, and reduce reliance on foreign oil. You won’t hear any chants of “Drill, baby, drill!” at the White House any time soon, but cheap energy that funds American businesses is better than expensive oil funding foreign terror networks.
- He wants your teacher to be paid to do a good job. No one knows quite how to fix the current dropout rate, but Obama’s willing to concede something Republicans have known for a long time: if you pay people to solve a problem, you can be someone will come up with a solution. He wants teachers’ paychecks to be based more on how well they’ve taught their students, not how pushy their union has been.
- He’s willing to un-Enron the budget. This is the big one. Our budget has gotten out of control, and that’s mostly because it’s so easy to shuffle money around. Politicians can fudge the numbers in a way that would send CFOs to jail — and they do it. Obama has publically committed to ending the practice. Usually, a public commitment doesn’t mean much, but just by admitting that the government cooks the books, he’s made it harder for his administration to do more of the same.
- In the end, a lot of this cancels out. If all this doesn’t convince you that Barack Obama has picked up some great ideas from across the aisle, you can take comfort. It’s likely that he won’t pass much of this budget, but when he does pass, he’s working against the fiscal laws of gravity.
His basic plan is to cut payroll taxes and give out credits — so the average worker has a little more money each week, and things like houses and tuition cost a little less. But this requires higher taxes or a higer deficit (probably both). And since a deficit leads to inflation, the loop is closed: Obama will cut taxes, and make things cheaper, leading to inflation that makes things more expensive — and forcing him to raise taxes. So we’ll be back where we started.