Posted by: Jeff | February 16, 2011

The Obama Budget, Cont’d.

ABC News reports that Obama views the 2012 budget proposal as the first step in a negotiation process that must involve Republicans willing to do more than just cut federal programs and fire federal workers:

Obama’s 10-year budget plan would increase the national debt by $7.2 trillion in 10 years; $1.1 trillion less than if it weren’t implemented.

Although it cuts several programs for low-income groups that the president said are part of the “tough choices” he has had to make, it isn’t nearly as tough as the plan proposed by Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, which called for a sweeping overhaul of Medicare, an increase in the Social Security retirement age, and ending tax deductions for mortgages.

Deriding the media’s coverage of the budget, the president disputed the idea that the deficit commission’s recommendations had been shelved, saying that “it still provides a framework for conversation.”

“You guys are pretty impatient,” he told reporters. “If something doesn’t happen today, then the assumption is it’s not going to happen.”

The president also warned lawmakers to be mindful of the budget that would fund the government for the remainder of the year and urged bipartisanship. The House today began debate on a contentious package proposed by Republicans that, they say, will save U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion, compared with the president’s fiscal year 2011 request.

Democrats charge that the GOP plan will halt economic recovery and hamper growth. But just hours after his press conference, Obama threatened to veto the bill, saying in a statement that the bill would “undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world,” and “sharply undermine core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation.”

When confronted with the Obama Administration’s criticism that the GOP bill would lead to layoffs of federal employees, House Speaker John Boehner didn’t seem to care:

At a press conference in the lobby of RNC headquarters Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) shrugged this off as collateral damage.

“In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We’re broke.”

[….]

Boehner didn’t cite a source for the claim that Obama had added 200,000 employees to the federal payroll. And he said he didn’t have an estimate of how many jobs would be lost as a result of the GOP cuts. But once the extent of the cuts is finalized, economists will provide them. And then we’ll have an answer for a question Boehner made famous during the 2010 campaign: “Where are the jobs?!”Update: Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post reported last September that there were only 20,000 more federal employees under Obama in 2010 than under George W. Bush in 2002 — and that, on a per capita basis (federal employees per 1,000 Americans), it’s at the lowest level at least since 1962.

Now that economists have had a chance to look at the plan, they’re projecting that the GOP budget cuts would cost up to 1 million jobs.   And the Speaker of the House said “If some of those jobs are lost so be it.”

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