Huffington Post Shocker: 'How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration'

For conservatives, it's been truly delicious the past few weeks watching previously devote Obamaites break ranks with their colleagues to finally tell the world that the emperor has no clothes.

A fine example Monday was the perilously liberal economist and media darling Jeffrey Sachs who published an article at the Huffington Post with the headline "How Obama's Politics Led to Sequestration":

It is easy for progressives to blame the Republicans for the sequestration and to view President Obama as having waged a last-ditch effort against these cuts. This is too easy. Many have been confused by focusing on Obama's eloquent speeches and progressive vision while missing his actual budget policies. [...]

Obama campaigned to make the [Bush] tax cuts permanent for 98 percent of households, and restore the pre-Bush rates only for the top 2 percent of households. This policy made it look like Obama was on the side of raising government revenues, and compared with the far-right Republicans, he was. Yet by making most of the temporary tax cuts permanent he sided de facto with the Republican campaign to undermine government by reducing revenues.

For those unfamiliar, Sachs is a far, far-left economist. This is witnessed by his contention that keeping existing tax policy in place is an act of reducing revenues.

To people such as Sachs, it's not your money. It's the government's, and you should be happy it allows you to have any:  

On New Year's Day, Obama and the Republicans agreed to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for 99 percent of households, excluding married couples with incomes above $450,000. They also agreed to keep low tax rates on dividends and capital gains. This "deal" will cost the federal budget an average of around $400 billion per year in foregone revenues during the coming decade, or roughly 2 percent of GDP each year. Once that deal was done the stark shrinkage of discretionary government programs became inevitable. [...]

Why would an ostensibly progressive president act this way? The answer is simple. To win two presidential elections, Obama decided he had to champion tax cuts for almost all Americans. Now the painful fiscal arithmetic is catching up with him, and more importantly, us.


Notice that nowhere in Sachs's analysis is there any discussion of the massive jump in spending in the fiscal 2009 budget all approved by Senator Obama or signed into law by President Obama.

Sadly, this is what liberals - economists and otherwise - have been neglecting for years.

The original fiscal 2009 budget called for spending of $3.1 trillion. In the end, it ballooned to $3.5 trillion and is now at $3.8 trillion.

Yet our problem according to Sachs is tax revenues.

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office projected tax revenues in 2013 will set a record of $2.7 trillion.

As such, if the "emergency" spending of 2008 and 2009 designed to prevent a depression had been "one-time" as promised, we'd be spending near the $3.1 trillion we originally planned for fiscal 2009, and our deficit would be less than $500 billion.

Taking this further, if the Democrats hadn't gone on a predictable spending binge when they took over Congress in 2007, the deficit today would be far lower.

Consider that in the final budget passed by a Republican Congress, outlays were $2.7 trillion. If spending had just risen at the rate of inflation, we'd currently be at $3 trillion resulting in just a $300 billion deficit this year.

One quite imagines none of these budget crises the past two years would ever have happened, and the economy likely would be far healthier producing greater revenue gains in the future without the need for raising taxes.

Alas, this appears too complicated for liberal economists always interested in ever higher taxes.

As for Sachs's contention that the current White House resident campaigned on tax cuts for almost all Americans, that's not true at all.

Obama's platform was specifically to raise taxes on the rich thereby playing the class warfare game Democrats often successfully run on.

His supporters gleefully walked with him to the river only to find on January 1 that their taxes went up too.

Makes you wonder what would happen if the election were held now.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.