It turns out that President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget is no more trustworthy than the rest of his administration. His budget, unsurprisingly to conservatives, is not “balanced” and does not deliver on its promise to cut $1.8 trillion in spending over a decade.
President Obama’s most recent budget request would reduce borrowing by $1.1 trillion over the next decade compared with current law — almost entirely through higher taxes on the rich, large estates and smokers, congressional budget analysts said Friday.
In addition to raising nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, the president’s blueprint would also cut spending modestly, according to the analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The same accounting gimmicks remain (“those savings include money the government never intended to spend anyway, such as a contingency fund for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and nearly $300 billion in unneeded disaster relief”). In fact, without these tricks, “Obama’s budget blueprint would actually increase spending over the next decade by roughly $700 billion, according to CBO figures.” Oh, and his budget never balances. Once again, what he told us is very different from reality.
The difficulty the president now faces is not merely the multiple scandals and the perception that his administration has crossed the line from partisanship to illegality, but the growing recognition that almost nothing he says can be taken at face value. The presumption of integrity and assumption of good faith has vanished in a cloud of unkept promises, wrongdoing and ineptitude.
When he says “red line” he doesn’t mean it. When he says he wants a “balanced” approach, he doesn’t translate that into action. When he says Obamacare is on track, it’s a joke. When he says he says he’s decimated al-Qaeda, he’s exaggerating. When he says a video spurred the attack on Libya, he’s flat out wrong. When he says he respects the First Amendment, he’s fooling no one.
No wonder our international foes don’t believe him; many Americans don’t either. Whether he is misleading, mistaken or miscast as president hardly matters any more. What is critical is that he’s no longer believed.
Once a president loses credibility and his words can no longer be accepted at face value, it doesn’t matter what domestic or foreign policy he is pursuing, he’s done as a leader.
How close to that point is the president? Some may think he’s passed it. With a fleet of yes men and women as advisers, he’s particularly handicapped in figuring out how to restore his stature. Maybe a clean sweep of his advisers and cabinet would help. But, since Jay Carney tells us there are no scandals, that isn’t likely to happen soon.