Problems with the Federal Budget

In an excellent Wall Street Journal op-ed today, Hoover Institution fellow Michael Boskin breaks down the problems with President Obama’s budget:

Mr. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget blueprint, by his own admission, redefines the role of government in our economy and society. The budget more than doubles the national debt held by the public, adding more to the debt than all previous presidents — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined. It reduces defense spending to a level not sustained since the dangerous days before World War II, while increasing nondefense spending (relative to GDP) to the highest level in U.S. history. And it would raise taxes to historically high levels (again, relative to GDP). And all of this before addressing the impending explosion in Social Security and Medicare costs.

The whole thing is worth a read. He does point out some of the good in the budget:

To be fair, specific parts of the president’s budget are admirable and deserve support: increased means-testing in agriculture and medical payments; permanent indexing of the alternative minimum tax and other tax reductions; recognizing the need for further financial rescue and likely losses thereon; and bringing spending into the budget that was previously in supplemental appropriations, such as funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The specific problems, however, far outweigh the positives.

The government should seriously be looking at real cuts, as President Obama has talked about. Cooler heads should prevail in this madness.