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President Obama pledged Wednesday "to act boldly now" on the huge deficits. But alas his newly revealed budget for 2012 is no better at cutting the deficit than was his first attempt just two months ago.
Yes, we do indeed need to act boldly. With deficits accumulating to $4.3 trillion during over his first three years as president and another $10.4 trillion projected over the next decade, time is not on our side. As it is, the president not only pushed for the increased spending but also has fought budget cuts at each step along the way. And the initial efforts have been meager. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the so-called "$38 billion" spending cut bill over which the government was almost shut down actually only cuts $352 million from this year's budget.
The president announced Wednesday that the new proposal "builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget," making it sound as if he has already made the tough decisions fighting for fiscal discipline. Unfortunately, it isn't so. The Congressional Budget Office, designated by the White House as the ultimate referee on spending questions, reported a few weeks ago that Obama’s February budget plans will actually increase the deficits over the coming decade by $1.2 trillion. That is a sharp contrast to the $1.1 trillion reduction touted by Mr. Obama. The CBO dismissed the president's figure, saying he underestimated how much more both existing and new programs will cost.
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