The Deficit Of Leadership: President’s Disappointing Speech Only Raises More Questions

Deficit Reduction
The president claimed deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion dollars over 10 years in his last budget. CBO said it would increase deficits by $2.7 trillion. Is the president’s new claim based on the same discredited assumptions in his last budget?

Non-Security Spending
The president says he will now freeze non-security discretionary spending in 2012 at the 2011 level. He claims this will reduce deficits by $600 billion over 10 years. What programs will be cut? Will the president reduce the large increases he previously proposed for some agencies such as the Education Department?

National Security
The president now sets a goal of holding non-war security spending below the rate of inflation and making other reductions to the Defense Department. He says this will save $400 billion over 12 years. What programs, systems or accounts will be reduced to achieve this?

The president proposes to eliminate tax deductions and credits resulting in $1 trillion in additional tax revenue. What tax deductions and credits will be eliminated or reduced? Does the president propose other tax increases not included in the $1.7 trillion increase he proposed in his budget?

Health Care
On health care the president says he will save $480 billion by 2023. He claims costs will be reduced while benefits will either stay the same or increase. Exactly how will this be achieved?

For instance, he proposes, to empower the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to limit Medicare spending growth to GDP+0.5% in 2018 and succeeding years. The Medicare actuary has previously written that the spending adjustments contemplated by IPAB and the health care law “are unlikely to be sustainable on a permanent annual basis” and “very challenging.” What savings does the president attribute to this proposal within the 10-year budget window?

Other Programs
The president assumes $360 billion in savings over 12 years from other mandatory programs such as agriculture and pensions. Which programs will be cut and by how much?

Will the president submit a new budget that can be scored by CBO and reviewed by Congress and the public—and in keeping with the Congressional Budget Act?