February 19
President Obama (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
President Obama (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Ultimately, the White House reflects the personality of the president. Thanks to presidential flatterer Valerie Jarrett’s infamous comment, we know that President Obama is “bored to death.” Well, that boredom seems to have spread throughout his realm — and it manifests itself as ambivalence and perhaps even laziness. This could explain the tired, unimaginative proposals coming out of the White House.

President Obama and his administration seem to have developed a cookie-cutter approach to our problems: It’s called the billion-dollar giveaway. No matter what the challenge, give it a billion dollars and declare success.  There doesn’t appear to be a problem the president encounters that a cool $1 billion from U.S. taxpayers won’t solve.

Looking back over the past few years, we find that President Obama routinely announces billion-dollar giveaways.  For example, in 2012, there was a “Master Teacher” program that came in at an even billion dollars.  Last year, there was a State of the Union plug for funding to improve 3-D printing technology.  Yup, exactly $1 billion was needed for that too.

This year is no different.  In the month since the 2014 State of the Union address, the White House has already announced two more $1 billion programs courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer, including funding for a “climate resilience fund” to “help communities prepare for a changing climate” and a promise to give U.S. ally Jordan an aid package worth $1 billion to help it deal with the influx of Syrian refugees across its borders.

One billion dollars is a nice round number. And, let’s face it, a $500 million program is so 1980s. Today it’s all about tossing out a billion here and a billion there to pet programs and favored audiences. If nothing else, you would think the administration would occasionally offer an odd dollar amount — say $750 million or even $1.2 billion — so someone might think actual consideration was given to how much money was really needed and how it might be wisely spent. Nope. A clean billion it is. But hey, when you are baking an imaginary cake, why spare the sugar? Never mind that it is highly unlikely that any of these programs are the result of budget planning — that is to say, there is no equation whereby something plus something plus something equals $1 billion. The monetary value of these initiatives is pulled out of thin air.

This is just the lazy person’s way of shrugging at a problem and using a billion dollars as an exclamation point to illustrate commitment.  I sound like a broken record, but this is more proof that President Obama is all about having the job, not really doing the job. These programs aren’t the product of serious work or careful consideration. The president is pretending to spend money that he doesn’t have, raising expectations and ultimately disappointing the would-be recipients. But that doesn’t matter because the left grades him only on pledges, not on progress. I’ll be surprised if we’re not in for a lot more $1 billion programs as the 2014 elections draw closer.

Follow Ed on Twitter at:  @EdRogersDC