By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
President Obama's profligate spending habits are starting to look an awful lot like his predecessor's, and that's not good. Here, for example, are three things the president did yesterday. These are three things that simply cannot be done simultaneously with a straight face:
First, the President expressed outrage over the horrendous abuse of government bailout money by insurance giant AIG--the same issue that has the rest of official Washington zooming off into outer space:
President Obama vowed to "pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses." But that pledge might have came too late. About $165 million in retention payments went out Friday to employees at Financial Products, after numerous discussions with the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve.
Problem with his outrage is, the government funds were used as bonuses on Mr. Obama's watch. President Obama could legitimately object to $165 million in wasteful government spending if he weren't simultaneously in the process of committing waste on a much grander scale.
Obama's budget proposes a $1.75 trillion deficit to lift the country out of recession and lay the groundwork for healthcare reform and other big initiatives. Republicans and some conservative Democrats are concerned about the record spending...
And the President cannot be all things to all people, expanding funding for a wide variety of programs at the same time.
President Obama pledged Monday to make good on his promise to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs and said he would "dramatically improve" mental health aid. Flanked by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the president said his budget calls for a $25 billion increase in funding for the VA over the next five years -- a commitment that will be tested by the needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'm not saying veterans should not be high up on the list of priorities. They should be, but one has to limit priorities. The war in Iraq continues to cost more than $10 billion dollars per month, the president is boosting the number of troops in Afghanistan, expanding health care spending and recreating the New Deal (hundreds of thousands if not millions of federal jobs) all at once. Does the phrase "hyper inflation" ring a bell? If you don't know what it means, you will in due time.
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By Bonnie Erbe