Politics

Obama Spend-O-Rama

Late Wednesday afternoon, Sen.Wayne Allard (R-Co.) introduced Amendment 4246 into the Senate budget debate. The amendment, which Allard calls “The Obama Spend-o-Rama” proposes funding 111 of the 188 spending proposals put out so far during Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) presidential campaign. (These were the proposals which Allard’s staff had time to analyze before the GOP leadership asked him to offer the amendment on the floor.) According to Allard, “There are another 77 proposals with unknown cost estimates that will add billions to this number.” (Click here to read Senator Allard’s Fiscal Responsibility Floor Statement.)

Allard freely admits that he will oppose his own amendment and urges other Senators to do the same. But, as a senior Senate staffer pointed out to HUMAN EVENTS, “Let’s see how many Senators who have endorsed Obama will actually vote for his budget.”

Some of the numbers around the federal budget are incomprehensibly large. How do you wrap your mind around a 5-year cost of $1.4 trillion? 

Senator Allard offers some comparisons to help with that mental exercise:

• This new spending, if enacted, would represent an almost 10% increase over the President’s FY 2009 budget.

• This $300 billion spending proposal would cost more than 42 states’ budgets combined (general fund expenditures).

• It is more than the United States spent last year on imported oil ($294 billion net).

• It is more than 60% larger than any one-year federal spending increase, ever.

An initial draft of the Amendment which was obtained by HUMAN EVENTS shows its purpose of “raisi(ng) taxes by an unprecedented $1.4 trillion for the purpose of fully funding 111 new or expanded federal spending programs” and, referencing S. Con. Res. 70, the Fiscal Year 2009 budget proposal, lists 111 items in the format of “On page 11, line 4, increase the amount by $5,120,000,000.” 

According to Senator Allard’s communications director, Steve Wymer, “This amendment is obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But if leaders in the Democratic Party are going to propose billions…or trillions…of dollars of new spending, at least let’s be honest about it.”

Of course, the problem with government spending is that government only has the money it takes from taxpayers. Senator Allard therefore laid out the tax consequences of Obama’s budget-busting proposals:

“According to CBO, President Clinton’s 1993 tax increase raised taxes $240.6 billion over five years. The late Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) called it the ‘largest tax increase in the history of public finance in the United States or anywhere else in the world.’ But this proposal will increase spending $300 billion in a single-year.”

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), who spoke immediately after Allard, re-emphasized the point: One year of Obama’s proposed spending increase “is bigger than the 5-year increase (in federal income tax collections) that President Clinton imposed on the American taxpayer.”

Burr argued that Obama’s promise to raise taxes just on the Democrats’ “attractive target” of people earning over $250,000, will only generate $225 billion over 5 years, far short of the $1.4 trillion which Obama’s proposed programs (actually only 60% of them) would saddle taxpayers with during that same time frame.

If Obama wanted to raise taxes on only the top 1% (earning over $365,000) to fund his plans, those citizens’ tax bills would have to rise by over $40,000 annually, an increase of 57%. Given the impossibility of that scenario, even under complete Democratic control of government, the tax hikes would have to trickle down to the American middle class.

“So if Congress decides to widen the pool of taxpayers footing the bill, it would have to raise taxes on the top 5% by 38%; or the top 10% by 32%; or the top 25% by 26%; or the top 50% of taxpayers by 23%. The top 50% of American taxpayers, who already pay 96.9% of all federal income taxes, are those who earn $31,000 (AGI) or more.

“To translate this point into language everyone can understand: if you have an income of $104,000 or more, the plan will cause your tax bill to go up at least an additional $5,300 a year; if you have an income of $62,000 or more, the plan will cause your tax bill to go up at least $2,300 a year. This is on top of the $2,300 increase already assumed by the failure to extend current tax policy.” (emphasis added)

Obama claims to want to “balance the budget and stop spending the Social Security Surplus.” Combining that laudable goal with Obama’s massive new spending would cause the tax bills of the average taxpayer earning $62,000 to rise $5,300, or 61%. For taxpayers earning $104,000, the increase would be over $12,000, or 74%, and for the top 1%, earning over $365,000, “their income tax bill rise by an astounding $93,500 (132%)!”

It is not only individuals would suffer under the Obama Spend-o-rama: “If you want economic growth in this country, it comes out of the small business sector. And when you raise their taxes markedly, it’s going to markedly have an adverse effect on the economy.”  This is on top of the $4,100 tax increase which small businesses will face when the Democratic congress refuses to renew the Bush tax cuts.

In his closing, Senator Allard noted that this is not simply a hypothetical discussion; the current debate is about the 2009 budget, the first year of the next president’s administration. It is therefore important (and good politics) to show the American public the ugly details of Obama’s pretty talk.

As Senator Burr pointedly warned, Congress must not “fictitiously propose that the federal government can increase spending and in fact balance it on the backs of a select few. It will be like every other tax increase — we will balance it on the backs of every American who can’t afford any more taxes.”

Even John McCain, who admits not to be an expert on economics, should be able to tear apart Obama’s proposed spending spree. He could take Obama to task gently, saying “If I can see that my opponent’s plans are a recipe for national bankruptcy, any American can.” That leaves Obama either having to defend the indefensible, or backing away from the “progressive” agenda which is much of the basis of his support from naïve liberals, primarily young or rich. 

Senator Allard has put Barack Obama in an uncomfortable position. As Allard staffer Steve Wymer put it, the Obama Spend-o-Rama Amendment is “just one step in trying to bring some truth to the budgeting process.”

The Allard amendment went down to a 97-0 defeat late Thursday afternoon, to nobody’s surprise.  Although the measure was hastily prepared, simply getting into the public record the scale of Obama’s spending proposals and the tax hikes required to fund them was a worthwhile endeavor.  Reached for comment after the vote, Senator Allard’s communications director Steve Wymer noted that "(Allard) voted against it with everyone else. But still, the point was made.”

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