Our View: ‘Balanced’ . . .

Posted: November 16, 2012

As if to prove that, in truth, there is nothing new under the sun — at least in the Administration of the Talking Points — President Obama has regurgitated a deficit-reduction plan first offered 14 months ago and proclaimed it “balanced.” Truth is, it wasn’t “balanced” then, nor is it now.

Much as he did in September 2011, the American Enterprise Institute’s Jim Pethokoukis digs deeply into the numbers, noting as he does that the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget unearthed gimcrackery in the president’s plan, now thoroughly warmed-over. For starters, the projected $4.4 trillion (over 10 years) in deficit reduction is illusory, based largely as it is on war savings already accounted for. In other words, you can’t count such savings twice.

What we’re left with, Mr. Pethokoukis says, is something more on the order of $2 trillion in alleged savings — accumulated, at least theoretically, by way of a $1.6 trillion tax increase on “the rich.”

This — essentially extracting $1.6 trillion from an already fragile private-sector economy — is “balanced”? No, says Mr. Pethokoukis, it smacks more of what has proven so erroneous in Europe — i.e., trying to wrest a measure of fiscal austerity through heavier taxes. And this will grow the economy and create jobs . . . how?