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Archive for March, 2009

Thoughts on Obama’s Budget

March 25th, 2009

I’ve maintained a strong interest in the long-term budget proposed by President Obama, and his press conference last night renewed some of my concerns.  Frankly, I’m conflicted about it. I understand and appreciate his attempt to fix some of the hard problems that are facing America, but I’m also concerned about the future and what the nation would be like if the budget back-fired.

Energy

We need an energy policy – yes.  We need a sustainable way to provide power for future generations.  I tend to agree with T. Boone Pickens, in that our reliance on foreign oil is more of a national security problem than a economic problem, but it’s most certainly both.  I’m curious why Obama didn’t use some stimulus money to build nuclear power plants or wind farms, instead helping cities like Dallas build fancy government-run hotels.

Health care

No question health care is a burden to many families. Hey, I just had a baby and my family’s healthcare costs are increasing 1,000%.  Trust me, when I learned that, you better believe I said “bring on socialism!”.  In all seriousness, health care is a real problem we need to confront, particularly medicare and medicaid.  Cutting-edge technology and treatment options aren’t getting cheaper, so the bottom line is the government will have to take more money. I don’t see any other way around that.

Education

We’re falling behind – no doubt. I’m not sure that it’s because we don’t invest enough, I think it may be more attributable to a culture that is becoming more lazy. Japanese, Indian, Chinese – they are all more driven than ever, while the American student is less driven and feels more of a sense of entitlement. I’m not sure that spending a ton of money on education will reverse that trend, unfortunately.

The budget and the future

If I’m reading Obama’s budget properly, he makes some pretty presumptuous assumptions and even with those the debt is staggering in 5 and 10 years.  I applaud him for including all spending, including military operational spending, in the budgets – definitely should have happened with GWB.  But this budget…it’s like he’s going “all-in” with the USA. If something unexpected happens (terrorist attack, natural disaster,  pandemic, etc.) in the next ten years, we have no emergency fund. Our emergency fund so far has been the Chinese, and their patience is waning.

The president enjoys lambasting the investors and speculators who took huge risks and helped cripple the economy, but I’m really struggling to see how this kind of government spending is not equally as risky.

Please…chime in with your thoughts below.

Tyson News, Politics

Hot Air from Obama’s Budget Director

March 8th, 2009

I think everyone had high hopes for Obama’s economic team, made up of so-called moderates.  But some of the recent statements from budget director Peter Orszag just don’t pass the smell test.

Earlier this week Orszag spoke before a congressional panel about the Obama budget, claiming it will save $2 trillion over the next ten years.  Wow – sign me up!  Luckily somebody asked him to explain those numbers in a little bit more detail, and here’s what he conceded: We will save $1.6 trillion in the next tens years by not sustaining the troop surge for the next decade.  Uh…OK, but who was going to do that!?  Had anybody even considered keeping surge troop levels in Iraq for ten more years?  Uh…no.  I just went and told my wife our family was going to save $1.5 million by not buying a private jet – she was equally confused.

A few days later on CNN, Orszag argued that the Obama administration had no power to change the omnibus spending bill which is loading with almost $8 billion in earmarks.  Come on…gimme a break.  I think it would be easy, try this line:

“Congress, this bill is filled with earmarks and I told you we were going to be different. Take out the earmarks and I will sign it.  The America people voted for change, and change is what they are going to get.”

See, that even sounds campaign-ish so I’m sure Obama could pull it off.

Tyson News, Politics