By Omar Rivero from Occupy Democrats
By now, most of America realizes that the Republican Party’s new-found concern for “jobs” right before the 2010 congressional midterm elections was a shameless ruse, particularly given the fact that they haven’t mentioned the word ever again since taking office.
That’s when they magically came up with their new favorite word which they continued to blast in the right-wing echo chamber until a few months ago, when they mysteriously changed their strategy and shifted focus. Republicans suddenly latched on to carefully orchestrated messages towards manufactured crises like Benghazi, the IRS’s diligent scrutiny of Tea Party campaign finance fraud, and the CIA investigation into a Yemen-related Associated Press national security leak that has nothing to do with the President.
The non-informed voter might be thinking, “But, why would Republicans stop hammering Pres. Obama on the deficit? He is a big spender, isn’t he?”
NO. Although the mainstream media has done an awful job of reporting it, the truth is that the federal deficit is shrinking more quickly than ever expected, and the government’s long-term debt has largely stabilized for the next decade. Confusing deficit-deranged Tea Partiers and conservatives everywhere, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office, not only has Pres. Obama brought America back from the brink of economic calamity, he is now getting our federal finances under control.
While the budget office continues to say that the federal government faces a long-range budget problem, largely due to the costs of an aging population, their new forecasts, released Tuesday, shift the breaking point until well after the 2020 presidential election.
The new projections put this year’s federal deficit at only $642 billion, almost 25% less than originally forecasted. That is just about $700 billion less then Pres. Obama’s first budget, which was 1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2010. The CBO projects that the deficits will continue to fall for the rest of Obama’s tenure.
The CBO sites three major factors for the large majority of the long-term improvement: the sustained slowdown in the rate of medical inflation – which slows the cost of Medicare and Medicaid – an improving economy, and the higher taxes that Congress approved as part of the “fiscal cliff ” deal in January.
Of course, these numbers will have a large impact on the political landscape. The Republican Party has largely gotten away with manufacturing crisis after economic crisis regarding the debt ceiling, extending unemployment benefits, and even renewing heating subsidies to cold seniors. In their relentless scaremongering about our deficit, they have advocated cuts to nearly every single vital social welfare program that’s the American middle-class depends on, especially during times of unprecedented economic need.
Given America’s clearly improving budget situation, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have more leverage to argue that big new reductions in spending and investment have much less urgency.
Of course, although they are quick to jump on the microphone and criticized Pres. Obama at every turn, House Speaker John Boehner declined to comment, and representative Paul Ryan issued a very short statement which inexplicably called the CBO report “a fresh reminder of Washington’s out-of-control spending”. Go figure.
It is especially important that Pres. Obama, congressional Democrats, and progressives make the demonstrable true argument that the deficit is falling too fast and is effectively leading to an austerity policy that is hurting economic growth. We need investment in the American middle class, not austerity economics and corporate welfare!
Watch a news report of our shrinking annual deficit here: