Obama’s deficit speech: ‘Timeline creep’ and other goodies

A few points about President Obama’s alleged budget-cutting speech:

  • Obama is using some pretty significant “timeline creep” to make his figures appear comparable to Paul Ryan’s plan on behalf of the GOP. Ryan, you may recall, proposed $4.4 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years, whereas Obama is proposing $4 trillion over 12 years.
  • On an apples-to-apples basis, then, it’s $440 billion a year (Ryan) to $333 billion a year (Obama).
  • To put the plans on a real apples-to-apples basis, since Obama would raise taxes to cover one-fourth of his reductions: Obama is proposing only $250 billion in spending cuts per year compared to Ryan’s $440 billion. As a reference point, the total federal budget this year will exceed $3.5 trillion.
  • Actually, to be truly accurate, both men are proposing slower deficit growth — not anything like a balanced budget in the medium term.
  • The difference is that Ryan addresses two entitlement programs — Medicare and Medicaid — while Obama hardly touches either of them, or Social Security. That means Ryan’s plan would bend the cost curve down (heard that line before?) for the fastest-growing parts of the federal budget, while Obama’s plan just cuts around the edges.
  • Obama said this plan comes on top of his previous commitment, in his 2012 budget, to cut deficits by $1 trillion over 10 years — down to a mere $9.6 trillion during the next decade.
  • Obama, then, wants to borrow $6.3 trillion between now and 2021. Ryan would have us borrow $5 trillion. And again, that’s after Obama raises taxes on “the rich.”

You can read the entire speech for yourself here.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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35 comments Add your comment

Left wing management

April 13th, 2011
4:19 pm

The difference is that Ryan addresses two entitlement programs — Medicare and Medicaid — while Obama hardly touches either of them, or Social Security. That means Ryan’s plan would bend the cost curve down (heard that line before?) for the fastest-growing parts of the federal budget, while Obama’s plan just cuts around the edges.

But Ryan doesn’t address one of the main drivers of the fiscal troubles: health care costs. In fact, the one serious effort that’s been made to begin addressing those costs – Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act – he guts. So on that basis, I’ll take the Obama plan any day.

Bryan G.

April 13th, 2011
4:33 pm

Having reviewed my healthcare premiums this year, I can find no more ironic name than the “Affordable Health Care Act.” It would sort of be like calling the bailouts the “Affordable Deficit Reduction Plan.”

Boehner Tears

April 13th, 2011
4:37 pm

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. … We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. … How does one man assert his power over another … By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is inflicting pain and humiliation. … A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. … If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face–for ever.”

Left wing management

April 13th, 2011
4:46 pm

Bryan G: “Having reviewed my healthcare premiums this year, I can find no more ironic name than the “Affordable Health Care Act.” It would sort of be like calling the bailouts the “Affordable Deficit Reduction Plan.” ”

One huge difference: the Affordable Health Care Act – though flawed – at least clears the way to something at least approaching universal coverage in this country. In other words, it does something to help the little guy. With the bank bailouts on the other hand, the benefits for the average citizen are less obvious (but the benefits to the captains of high finance are unmistakable).

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
4:55 pm

Let’s be clear. According to the CBO, Paul Ryan’s plan INCREASES the deficit over the first decade.

At the same time, Ryan’s plan would end Medicare and replaces it with vouchers (no thanks), throw millions into the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured, and raises taxes on the poor and middle class. Republicans hope to accomplish all this so to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and give even more tax cuts to corporations and those in the highest tax brackets. Truth be told, we could reduce the deficit more than their proposal simply by doing nothing—by that I mean, by letting Bush tax cuts expire and going back to Clinton-era rates.

By the way, KW is also mistaken when he reports that Obama doesn’t touch Medicare. As I and many others have repeatedly said, the of our projected deficits is the rising cost of Medicare. The cause, however, is the rising cost of health care—about twice as high in the U.S. as in other industrialized countries.

To get to the root of the problem, the cost of health care, Obama’s plan strengthens the Independent Payment Advisory Board created under the health care law that passed last year. He seeks to require the board to come up with ways to put Medicare on what amounts to a budget — growing no faster than GDP + 0.5. Congress would have to pass legislation to overrule those proposed savings. This, my friends, is the very definition of cost control; people who know about health care and health costs setting priorities for spending, within a budget.

When the right starts screaming about death panels again, of course, seniors could always look for insurance in the private market. Also, compare this with a voucher system, in which profit-driven insurance companies decide which care won’t be paid for. If you like death panels, then you should love Ryan’s voucher program.

To further reduce the cost of Medicare, Obama also proposed allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better prices on drugs paid for through Medicare Part D. Remember this is the entitlement passed by a Republican president and Republican congress? Republican politicians adamantly oppose allowing government to negotiate on behalf of taxpayers because, well, they know it would work to drive down the cost of Medicare even more. Sure, the taxpayer would be better off, but Republicans don’t want to cut into the profits of their pharmaceutical benefactors

Bryan G.

April 13th, 2011
4:55 pm

Eh, then it should have been called the “make people who make money pay more for health care while giving more handouts to the poor act.”

Regardless, I don’t think either side is still serious about fixing the deficit. Most of our new deficit was added in the past 5 years. You’re telling me we can’t get below a trillion dollar deficit in a decade? There’s just no way that we need the Federal Government so much that we need it to spend almost $4T this year. Ridiculous.

Left wing management

April 13th, 2011
5:03 pm

Bryan G. : ““make people who make money pay more for health care while giving more handouts to the poor act”

Who said anything about “handouts” to the poor?

What’s your suggestion for how we’re going to join the rest of the civilized world in making affordable available to the population as a whole?

And if your answer is the usual conservative pseudo-reasonable “it’s not our/the government’s business to do this, let the markets resolve it”, save it. It doesn’t work.

Ben Franklin

April 13th, 2011
5:03 pm

Blah Blah Blah ….Bush’s fault….Blah blah blah …”as long as I am president” mercifully that time will be here quickly –Blah blah blah “my plan” -he has a plan? ….for anything?… Blah Blah Blah –it’s Bush’s fault ..Blah Blah Blah –shut your piehole Barry no one believes a word you say.

arnold

April 13th, 2011
5:06 pm

“alleged budget cutting speech”. Obama has more brass than you’ll ever understand. You wouldn’t make a pimple on his a**.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2011
5:10 pm

You’re right, arnold. I don’t have the guts to stand before a country that knows it’s being spent to death and continue to talk about more federal “investments,” more deficits, more debt, etc.

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
5:12 pm

From Obama’s speech:

“The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Here, the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer: their plan lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.”

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
5:20 pm

Also from Obama’s speech: “…in the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the [Bush] tax cuts and the [Republican] prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.”

This statement doesn’t include the misbegotten war in Iraq, the resulting extension of the war in Afghanistan, massive increases in farm and other corporate subsidies, reduced efforts to collect unpaid taxes and mining/drilling royalties, etcetera.

If this country is being spent to death, then those who voted for a Republican congress and Republican president should take a look in the mirror.

fiddy cent

April 13th, 2011
5:25 pm

Instead of trying to come up with another plan to take even more taxes from the few that actually pay them Barry might want to put that pinhead of his into a plan to tax the 47% that pay zero income tax but enjoy the benefits of living int the USA

Dr. Phil

April 13th, 2011
5:27 pm

Barry —blaming George Bush again —-really?

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2011
5:29 pm

@Georgia Voter: And here’s how Obama says he’ll reduce the cost of health care:

“We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments.” — Isn’t he already doing that to get the $500 billion he’s taking from Medicare to help pay for ObamaCare?

“We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market.” — In other words, we will tell drug makers that if they don’t sell us their products more cheaply, we’ll devalue their products by cutting the life of their patents. I’m sure that won’t do annnnnnything to quash innovation or drive their research facilities overseas; after all, that’s pretty much what European countries have been doing for years, while much of their pharma industry has moved over here. I guess jobs don’t matter if they come from evil Big Pharma.

“We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid.” — Since Obama waxed so nostalgic today for the 1990s, why not embrace Ryan’s block-grant approach to Medicaid, which essentially repeats the successful, 1990s approach to welfare reform?

“We will change the way we pay for health care – not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results.” — We’re going to incentivize doctors to *prevent* their patients’ *injuries*? What?

“And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need.” — Cue the “death panels” debate, but seriously: This is quintessential central planning — with all of its illustrious history.

“And if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.” — He’ll “make additional savings by further improving Medicare”? Orwell couldn’t have written it better himself.

Daffy Duck

April 13th, 2011
5:29 pm

After the speech Barry and his family left on yet another vacation…..How many vacations have you taken in the last 12 months?

Michael H. Smith

April 13th, 2011
5:29 pm

Anybody checked for inflation lately? Now let’s be really clear. Inflation is the worst tax increase imaginable on the POOR and the MIDDLE CLASS, for them, us, it is inescapable. With these deficits and the flood of money the Fed has pumped into the system, if you haven’t seen or felt any pain from the recent price increases for food and gas, get ready to feel some pain in the pocket.

So dear leader says he will not raise taxes on the poor and middle class. He will actually tell you that he cut taxes on the poor and middle class. When inflation hits us all in the buttock then the truth will tell you just how badly he lied. Inflation is nothing but a hidden government tax.

Slower deficit growth isn’t going to cut it, Kyle.

One other thing for sure, (for the wife and I) our insurance costs have gone up twice, the coverage was cut twice and the co-pays have gone up twice. So dear leader said ObamaCare would do what? Like I said, when it hits you in the buttock then the truth tells you just how badly he lied.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2011
5:30 pm

confucious

April 13th, 2011
5:32 pm

Kyle why bother with people like @ Georgia Voter ? Their minds are shut so tight not an iota of light will ever shine in there.

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2011
5:33 pm

Greg Mankiw summarizes the choice before us pretty neatly:

“Here we see the fundamental differences between the parties: One believes in spending more and allocating that spending via central planning. The other believes in spending less and harnessing individual choice and competition to ensure that the money is spent wisely. To be sure, there is room for compromise…but the issues are not just numerical. The parties start with fundamentally different visions of markets and government.”

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2011/04/two-visions-for-medicare.html

Kyle Wingfield

April 13th, 2011
5:34 pm

confucious: To be honest, most of my responses to Georgia Voter are for the benefit of everyone else.

Mr ER

April 13th, 2011
5:35 pm

So obmai my insurance won’t “increase one penny……” Well no I have only one plan to choose from my deductible went up $350 to $1250 and my premiums are up 17% What do you have to say about that?

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

KW,

I appreciate you correcting your incorrect statement that Obama hardly touches Medicare.

Responding to your question about preventing injuries by doctors and hospitals: “In November 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…found that each month one out of seven Medicare hospital patients is injured—and an estimated 15,000 are killed—by harmful medical practice. Treating the consequences of medical errors cost Medicare a full $324 million in October 2008 alone, or 3.5 percent of all Medicare expenditures for inpatient care…The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that almost 100,000 Americans now die from hospital-acquired infections alone, and that most of these are preventable.”

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2011/1103.allen.html

If you’re criticizing Obama’s speech for lack of specificity, have you taken a look at Ryan’s document? Orwell couldn’t have written it better himself.

Michael H. Smith

April 13th, 2011
5:41 pm

This is quintessential ‘central planning’

Reminds you of the good ol’ days back when there was a U.S.S.R. . Tell me again how obumer and his regime’ are not socialist as they claim, will you Kyle?

Mr ER

April 13th, 2011
5:43 pm

Hey Barry want to cut some waste? Next time you speak to Harry bring this up!.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) bestowed upon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) the March “Porker of the Month” Award for his absurd belief that a federally-funded Cowboy Poetry Festival in Elko, Nevada (pop. 17,000) constitutes essential government spending. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which allots $146 million of it’s budget to the festival, was defunded under H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Resolution for fiscal year 2011, which Sen. Reid helped defeat in the Senate. On March 8, 2011, he described the proposed termination in a Senate floor speech as “mean-spirited,” stating that were it not for NEH’s federal money, the Cowboy Poetry Festival and “the tens of thousands of people who come there every year, would not exist.”

waste management

April 13th, 2011
5:47 pm

Here’s a little help Obama if your looking for some places to cut..no need to thank me …

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and John Kerry (D-Mass.) January Porkers of the Month for urging the Pentagon to release taxpayer funds to continue development work on General Electric’s alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. The alternate engine has been criticized as wasteful and unnecessary by taxpayers, the Bush and Obama Administrations, and numerous top military officials. Sens. Brown and Kerry represent states where the engine will be developed and built.

CAGW has long opposed the alternate engine. On May 20, 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made it clear that he will recommend that the President veto any legislation that includes funding for the alternate engine, a pledge that has been reiterated by the White House. Additionally, in a January 6, 2011 speech about military’s budget, Secretary Gates said that spending limited resources on the alternate engine constitutes excess overhead and is an unneeded program.

The alternate engine is currently on life support and has been funded off and on with anonymous earmarks since fiscal year 2004. The project is currently being funded through a continuing resolution which expires on March 4, 2011.

“The alternate engine has been a $3 billion boondoggle and taxpayers should not sink one more dime of limited resources into this failed project. This program has become the epitome of senseless government waste, diverting resources away from other important military projects and expenditures that keep the nation and our troops safe and secure,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “The only general who supports the alternate engine is General Electric.”

Georgia Voter

April 13th, 2011
5:51 pm

I see the wordsmith’s on the right have agreed to test their latest phrase in the media: “central planning”. If what Obama is proposing is central planning, then our federal highway system, roads, damns, ports, levies, railroads, airports, and universities are the result of central planning.

But truth be told, the people slinging that phrase around are no more capitalists than Stalin was. They hate transparency, they hate rules that maintain competition, they hate to expose themselves to pay determined by stockholders or market forces, and they continually run to the government for favors and handout. In short, they’re plutocrats.

Now, when it comes to health care, then I’ll take Medicare run by those appointed by people I elect over the planning of a cabal of profit-driven insurance companies who are fiduciarily obligated to deny coverage for people who need it, deny claims even when they’re contractually covered, and gouge their customers irregardless of the effect on access to quality care.

So, here’s my proposal: open up Medicare so that anybody can buy into it. Those who prefer “central planning” can buy into Medicare, and the so-called capitalists can see how they do on the private market.

waste management

April 13th, 2011
5:52 pm

All of the healthcare reform bills currently under consideration depend, to a significant degree, upon eradicating waste and abuse from Medicare in order to offset the costs of the new coverage package. Squeezing waste out of Medicare is a laudable goal and an aggressive waste eradication campaign could yield savings of $40 to $50 billion annually (conservatively), or 10 percent, a much higher percentage of fraud than exists in private healthcare systems. Unfortunately, it is a pipedream. Administrations and Congresses going back decades have tried, and failed miserably, to eliminate the waste.

Medicare has been, from its inception, a politicized program and, as such, is driven primarily by political power and influence, not increased efficiency, better access, higher quality or better health outcomes. The program’s basic structure, its incentives, and its governance all encourage wasteful spending and fraud. It is like “The Terminator,” built to withstand even the most modest attempts to cut fat and achieve efficiencies. Regardless of the good government rhetoric emanating from Washington and somber promises to introduce a tsunami of competition and vanquish waste and abuse, the same structural rules will hold true for any future government-run health insurance option that Congress enacts.

Medicare already has numerous agencies of the federal government looking over its shoulder, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, the Office of Management and Budget, and House and Senate oversight committees, not to mention the state law enforcement agencies, all busily quantifying the mountains of waste and fraud. What is woefully lacking is the political will to act upon those realities.

gm

April 13th, 2011
5:55 pm

Thanks Obama for caring for our Seniors, middle class Americans, you are truly more American then any birther or wig wearing Donald Trump and high school drop out , expolits low middle class whites Rush Limbaugh.

Thanks for having morles something these so called christians in the bible state of Georgia dont have.

[...] Kyle Wingfield of the Atlanta Journal Constitution added there was significant “timeline creep” in Obama’s speech “to make his figures appear comparable to Paul Ryan’s plan.” Wingfield added that Ryan’s plan touched on both Medicare and Medicaid, when Obama barely addressed them.  [...]

English 101

April 13th, 2011
6:48 pm

@ gm . There is a smidgen of a chance that you might be taken seriously, if you construct a proper sentence, eliminate misspelling and use proper grammar. Then again you still wouldn’t.

Michael H. Smith

April 13th, 2011
6:51 pm

If some people stopped long enough to read Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution they would realize how much socialist ‘central planning’ actually has unconstitutionally gone on in this country, primarily beginning with FDR to LBJ’s great society and now under dear leader obumer.

Howbeit, ignorance is not really bliss, because contrary to the misguided rhetoric slung around by certain socialist liberal people among us citing our federal highway system and roads as something less than a regulated capitalism and constitutional the facts do differ therein:

The Congress shall have Power…

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

The Federal Government was granted very limited powers in the Constitution, whereas the States’ where given innumerable powers and rights. For clarification Madison made this explicitly known in his federalist paper #45.

One of the underlying causes, if not the very reason we have this deficit problem today is because the federal government was not forced to govern strictly within the confines of the Constitution that restrains its powers to the very few that are listed in the Constitution. The Anti-federalist were wise and fearful enough to have this limitation written again into the Bill of Rights, because they knew the grave dangers that a strong centralize government would impose upon their freedoms and liberties and those of their posterity.

Healthcare is not an enumerated right of the federal government. It is in fact therefore germane to the State governments. Rep. Ryan’s proposal as he discussed it would return Medicare and Medicate to State governments, as he says many governors of the States have requested, for they know better what the people of their State’s need more so than the federal government. Returning to governance that governs within the confines of the Constitution would be the best choice for the States and we the people. For it is the constitutionally prescribe “regulated form capitalism” of our country which precludes ‘centralized planning’.

Thanks but no thanks to obamaCare brucie and appointed centralized nationalized healthcare. We in Georgia can do better than that: It’s not our fault Orwell read the constitution and you choose to disregard it.

[...] commissions. (Even if President Barack Obama’s idea of tax “reform,” judging by his speech yesterday, is simply to raise taxes on “the [...]

Michael H. Smith

April 13th, 2011
7:01 pm

@ English 101

I think I shall choose to fall upon mine own sword in advance rather than joust with thee. :)

My English teacher were all good, they just had a lousy student.

independent thinker

April 17th, 2011
9:56 am

Paul Ryan’s paln is a good start but is a insufficient and so is O’Bama’s. We need Medicare reform now not in eleven years to keep the ship of state from sinking like the Titanic George Bush’s vote buyng scheme of free Medicare drugs with no restrictions on Big Pharma and Medicare Advantage with free gym memberships and profits for private insurers all must be undone or funded with higher taxes.
Two areas not touched by either plan is excess military funding for overseas bases and unnecessary weapons and naval ships as well as unlimited social security disability payments for those who choose not to work and can payoff a doctor for a disability statement.Along with that is unaffordable farm subsidies.
Every corporation must pay minimal taxes or bring the jobs back from overseas. And no federal contracts to companies who pay no taxes.
No political leader is willing to have an adult coversation with the nation about why these issues are vital to our future.
What happens when the Fed stops printing phony dollars? and when it stops buying US treasuries to create an artificial market for them? Inflation will skyrocket. That day is coming very soon.Both parties are trying to l make sure that sinking of the Titanic will be held off until 2012