According to calculations of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, the president has slashed a dollar of spending for every dollar he’s spent on government programs, making myths of his "spending illness" seem pretty ridiculous:
So far, the Obama administration has pushed for six major, immediate spending increases that aren't offset elsewhere in the budget: the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (aka "the stimulus package"), which had a 2009-10 price tag of $340 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office; the GM/Chrysler bailout and other portions of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which have largely been paid back ($25 billion); unemployment-insurance extensions ($67 billion); COBRA extensions ($9 billion); Cash for Clunkers ($3 billion); and loans to automakers for energy-efficiency improvements ($8 billion).
That’s $452 billion. Factor in $296 billion in stimulus funds that have yet to be spent and $136 billion in refundable tax credits that passed in December as part of Congress' bipartisan tax compromise, and you wind up with $884 billion on the spending side of the equation.
That’s a hefty sum of money. But here's the interesting thing: Obama's tax cuts have been even bigger. The first of them, $238 billion in cuts for taxpayers and businesses, came as part of the stimulus package. The second portion, $721 billion worth, arrived in December, again as part of Congress' bipartisan tax compromise. Subtract $54 billion in forthcoming stimulus-related tax hikes, and you've got a grand total of $905 billion in tax cuts. In other words, Obama has slashed one tax dollar for every dollar he's spent on government programs.
We want to say this is great news, but, well, we live in the world. As the Daily Beast points out, "regardless of reality, Republicans have a strong incentive to keep characterizing the president's spending as an 'out of control,' 'unprecedented' 'spree' that 'threatens' 'our children's future.' "
So, who cares if these numbers are grounded in nonpartisan CBO estimates? Who cares if they're good news for the country? It's doubtful that Republicans who care more about getting Obama out of office than they care about any particular ideology, as a recent poll shows (Seriously? How does that even begin to make sense?), are going to change their tune.
Obviously feeling a bit cynical over at The Root today. Does anyone have a more hopeful take on the impact of these figures?
Read more at the Daily Beast.
In other news: Fantasia to Play Mahalia Jackson.