April 10, 2013

If you want more of the same out of Washington, you will love President Obama’s budget. The tired old liberalism of taxing and spending is alive and well along with his projected low-growth economy. It makes me yawn just to say it. And he wants Republicans to meet him halfway. Halfway to where? Halfway to the malaise of high unemployment, stagnant wages and dependency?

Obama’s previous plans and economic projections have mostly been wildly inaccurate and overly optimistic. Remember, it was February 2009 when Obama promised that, in 2013, the unemployment rate would be 5.2 percent and GDP growth would be at 4 percent or higher?

For any Democrat running for office in November 2014, there isn’t much encouragement here. Obama wants his team to run with unemployment above 7 percent, a projected fiscal 2014 deficit of $744 billion, and an annual growth rate of only 2.4 percent. With a growth rate like that, you get minimal job growth at best. Not exactly “Morning Again in America.”

Obama doesn’t forecast anything like an economic tailwind that could help him capture the House of Representatives. In fact, his projections describe an economy that is so weak and fragile we’re at least as likely to have a downturn that could propel Republicans into control of the Senate.

Washington still has a lot of work to do, and poor John Boehner now has the burden of trying to sift through Obama’s budget to try and find something that could be useful. For instance, at least Obama has acknowledged the dangerous state of Social Security. But unfortunately, of the big three entitlement programs –- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid –- Social Security is probably the strongest in the near term.

Obama is running out of time. Remember, a budget is a plan put to numbers. Obama’s plan is for a lousy economy. There’s no other way to read this budget.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.