Budget Games

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BY DR. MERRILL MATTHEWS – You can be forgiven for thinking President Obama’s just-released budget seems a little odd.


The President proposes to cut spending in places that Democrats typically defend to their last breath: programs for the poor.  Proposed funding for emergency heating would be cut by $2.5 billion, affecting an estimated 3.2 million households.  And there would also be a 50 percent cut in community service block grants.

So a former “community organizer” proposes a massive $3.73 trillion budget, and highlights his cuts for the poorest Americans, which is a clue to the political strategy.

When private sector companies have to cut budgets, they try to do it in a way that has the least possible impact on consumers.  Politicians often do just the opposite; they pick the most sensitive programs because they want the public outraged over the proposed cuts—so the public can be duped into accepting a tax increase instead.

Obama knows that Democrats will want those cuts for the poor restored.  So he can talk about cutting spending now, with the goal of raising taxes later.

Today’s PolicyByte was written by IPI Resident Scholar Dr. Merrill Matthews.