Today Barack Obama’s summit on fiscal responsibility (National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) will convene for the first time at the White House. The job at hand or should I say hand job is to make recommendations to Congress to balance the budget by 2015 and to improve our long-term fiscal outlook. This commission is meeting when just a little over a month after Congress approved a new $2.5 trillion health care entitlement that the Obama administration now confirms will increase our nation’s total health care spending.
This is a common pattern for the White House; first enact record breaking levels of deficit spending, then turn right around and make a promise of strict spending sometime in the future.
After signing the largest single-year increase in domestic federal spending since World War II , Obama held a “fiscal responsibility” summit designed to “send a signal that we are serious” about putting the nation on sounder financial footing. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank penned at the time: “Holding a ‘fiscal responsibility summit’ at the White House in the middle of a government spending spree is a bit like having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at a frat house on homecoming weekend.”
Congress has now missed its April 15 deadline for enacting a budget resolution, which is one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress must pass annually. If Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) fails to pass a budget it will be the first time since the 1974 Congressional Budget Act that the House has failed to do so. Americans around the country, beaten down by this recession are looking at their budgets to see how they can get by and where they can cut back more to save a few dollars. Yet Congress—despite a $1.5 trillion deficit in 2010 and historic deficits as far as the eye can see—cannot manage to set any budget framework for the next few years.
Last week, Pew Research Center released a survey showing just 22% of respondents said they trust the federal government almost always or most of the time. Last March Pew found by 54% to 37%, people favored the government exerting more control over the economy. Now, by 51% to 40%, a majority of Americans say they want less government control. If President Obama’s fiscal responsibility commission is to have any credibility with the American people, the first item on its agenda must be the full repeal of the President’s $2.5 trillion health care entitlement.
Data collected from the Heritage Foundation.