Obama Suddenly Envisions An America Where “We Live Within Our Means”

After adding more to America’s national debt in his first 19 months than all presidents from Washington through Reagan combined, Barack Obama on Wednesday, April 14th, 2011, in a nationally televised speech, said the following:

“This is my vision for America: A vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future”

He was not, I presume, referring to his jaw-droppingly profligate “stimulus package,” which he forced upon us before anyone had actually read what was inside the package — a partial listing of which runs something like this:

• $44 million for construction, repair and improvements at US Department of Agriculture facilities
• $209 million for work on deferred maintenance at Agricultural Research Service facilities
• $245 million for maintaining and modernizing the IT system of the Farm Service Agency
• $175 million to buy and restore floodplain easements for flood prevention
• $50 million for “Watershed Rehab”
• $1.1 billion for rural community facilities direct loans
• $2 billion for rural business and industry guaranteed loans
• $2.7 billion for rural water and waste dispoal direct loans
• $22.1 billion for rural housing insurance fund loans
• $2.8 billion for loans to spur rural broadband
• $150 million for emergency food assistance
• $50 million for regional economic development commissions
• $1 billion for “Periodic Censuses and Programs”
• $350 million for State Broadband Data and Development Grants
• $1.8 billion for Rural Broadband Deployment Grants
• $1 billion for Rural Wireless Deployment Grants
• $650 million for Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program
• $100 million for “Scientific and Technical Research and Services” at the National Institute of Standards And Technology
• $30 million for necessary expenses of the “Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership”
• $300 million for a competitive construction grant program for research science buildings
• $400 million for “habitat restoration and mitigation activities” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
• $600 million for “accelerating satellite development and acquisition”
• $140 million for “climate data modeling”
• $3 billion for state and local law enforcement grants
• $1 billion for “Community Oriented Policing Services”
• $250 million for “accelerating the development of the tier 1 set of Earth science climate research missions recommended by the National Academies Decadal Survey.”
• $50 million for repairs to NASA facilities from storm damage
• $300 million for “Major Research Insrumentation program” (science)
• $200 million for “academic research facilities modernization”
• $100 million for “Education and Human Resources”
• $400 million for “Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction”
• $4.5 billion to make military facilities more energy efficient
• $1.5 billion for Army Operation and Maintenance fund
• $624 million for Navy Operation and Maintenance
• $128 million for Marine Corps Operation and Maintenance
• $1.23 billion for Air Force Operation and Maintenance
• $454 million to “Defense Health Program”
• $110 million for Army Reserve Operation and Maintenance
• $62 million for Navy Reserve Operation and Maintenance
• $45 million for Marine Corps Reserve Operation and Maintenance
• $14 million for Air Force Reserve Operation and Maintenance
• $302 million for National Guard Operation and Maintenance
• $29 million for Air National Guard Operation and Maintenance
• $350 million for military energy research and development programs
• $2 billion for Army Corps of Engineers “Construction”
• $250 million for “Mississippi River and Tributaries”
• $2.2 billion for Army Corps “Operation and Maintenance”
• $25 million for an Army Corps “Regulatory Program”
• $126 million for Interior Department “water reclamation and reuse projects”
• $80 million for “rural water projects”
• $18.5 billion for “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy” research in the Department of Energy. That money includes:
• $2 billion for development of advanced batteries
• $800 million of that is for biomass research and $400 million for geothermal technologies
• $1 billion in grants to “institutional entities for energy sustainability and efficiency”
• $6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
• $3.5 billion for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
• $3.4 billion for state energy programs
• $200 million for expenses to implement energy independence programs
• $300 million for expenses to implement Energy efficient appliance rebate programs including the Energy Star program
• $400 million for expenses to implement Alternative Fuel Vehicle and Infrastructure Grants to States and Local Governments
• $1 billion for expenses necessary for advanced battery manufacturing
• $4.5 billion to modernize the nation’s electricity grid
• $1 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee Program
• $2.4 billion to demonstrate “carbon capture and sequestration technologies”
• $400 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Science)
• $500 million for “Defense Environmental Cleanup”
• $1 billion for construction and repair of border facilities and land ports of entry
• $6 billion for energy efficiency projects on government buildings
• $600 million to buy and lease government plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles
• $426 million in small business loans
• $100 million for “non-intrusive detection technology to be deployed at sea ports of entry
• $150 million for repair and construction at land border ports of entry
• $500 million for explosive detection systems for aviation security
• $150 million for alteration or removal of obstructive bridges
• $200 million for FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter program
• $325 million for Interior Department road, bridge and trail repair projects
• $300 million for road and bridge work in Wildlife Refuges and Fish Hatcheries
• $1.7 billion for “critical deferred maintenance” in the National Park System
• $200 million to revitalize the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
• $100 million for National Park Service Centennial Challenge programs
• $200 million for repair of U.S. Geological Survey facilities
• $500 million for repair and replacement of schools, jails, roads, bridges, housing and more for Bureau of Indian Affairs
• $800 million for Superfund programs
• $200 million for leaking underground storage tank cleanup
• $8.4 billion in “State and Tribal Assistance Grants”
• $650 million in “Capital Improvement and Maintenance” at the Agriculture Dept.
• $850 million for “Wildland Fire Management”
• $550 million for Indian Health facilities
• $150 million for deferred maintenance at the Smithsonian museums
• $50 million in grants to fund “arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn” through the National Endowment for the Arts
• $1.2 billion in grants to states for youth summer jobs programs and other activities
• $1 billion for states in dislocated worker employment and training activities
• $500 million for the dislocated workers assistance national reserve
• $80 million for the enforcement of worker protection laws and regulations related to infrastructure and unemployment insurance investments
• $300 million for “construction, rehabilitation and acquisition of Job Corps Centers”
• $250 million for public health centers
• $1 billion for renovation and repair of health centers
• $600 million for nurse, physician and dentist training
• $462 million for renovation work at the Centers for Disease Control
• $1.5 billion for “National Center for Research Resources”
• $500 million for “Buildlings and Facilties” at the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington, D.C.
• $700 million for “comparative effectiveness research” on prescription drugs
• $1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance
• $2 billion in Child Care and Development Block Grants for states
• $1 billion for Head Start programs
• $1.1 billion for Early Head Start programs
• $100 million for Social Security research programs
• $200 million for “Aging Services Programs”
• $2 billion for “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology”
• $430 million for public health/social services emergency funds
• $2.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control for a variety of programs
• $5.5 billion in targeted education grants
• $5.5 billion in “education finance incentive grants”
• $2 billion in “school improvement grants”
• $13.6 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
• $250 million for statewide education data systems
• $14 billion for school modernization, renovation and repair
• $160 million for AmeriCorps grants
• $400 million for the construction and costs to establish a new “National Computer Center” for the Social Security Administration
• $500 million to improve processing of disability and retirement claims
• $920 million for Army housing and child development centers
• $350 million for Navy and Marine Corps housing and child development centers
• $280 million in Air Force housing and child development centers
• $3.75 billion in military hospital and surgery center construction
• $140 million in Army National Guard construction projects
• $70 million in Air National Guard construction projects
• $100 million in Army Reserve construction projects
• $30 million in Navy Reserve construction projects
• $60 million in Air Force Reserve construction projects
• $950 million for VA

It’s hard to believe that a mere two months ago, in his February budget, Obama was still denying that America even faced a fiscal crisis, and yet today (April 14th) he not only admitted it: he attempted to describe it. About which, Yuval Levin said this:

It is certainly unorthodox for a president to renounce his own budget two months after proposing it, but that is just what the president did—implicitly dismissing even the goals set out by his budget in its own terms (let alone its potential to achieve them, as measured by the Congressional Budget Office) as totally inadequate. In that sense, the only immediate practical implication of the speech is that it throws the 2012 budget process into disarray (Yuval Levin, “The President’s Speech”).

So banal and so full of easy platitudes was Obama’s speech that one hardly faults Joe Biden for falling asleep:

Obama did at least make one true statement:

“There will be those who vigorously disagree with my approach.”


He continued:

“Some will argue, we should not even consider ever, ever raising taxes even if only on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article of faith to them.”

An article of faith, or a working knowledge of economics?

Because make no mistake: the only real article of faith before us here is Obama’s blind belief that a country can tax-and-spend its way to prosperity.


  • Dale

    April 15, 2011

    Didn’t you once assert Obama appears to be executing the Cloward-Piven Strategy? Doesn’t this contradict your assertion “Obama’s blind belief that a country can tax-and-spend its way to prosperity”?

  • Ray

    April 15, 2011

    Hi Dale. Yes, I did write that — in an article I unfortunately lost — and, no, it doesn’t contradict Obama’s blind belief that a country can tax-and-spend its way to prosperity. Cloward-Piven was from the beginning a strategy ultimately aimed at implementing, albeit roundaboutly, the garden-variety politics that Obama is in lockstep with.

    Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

    That — helping the poor through government agencies — was the genesis of Cloward-Piven. Let us not forget also that over the course of 2 years Obama has, for very good reason, plummeted in popularity and has met furious resistance from people across the entire country. In large part because of his overtly socialist politics — “Spreading the wealth around,” to use his own words — Obama no longer controls congress and he’s no longer nearly as cocky as when he rammed through his unread “stimulus” legislation. He has, by the admission of his own administration, been forced to “triangulate.” None of which in my view changes his faith in Keynesian economics, which are provably doomed to fail.

  • M Kathy Brown

    April 19, 2011

    Obama’s “jokes” get “richer” by the week! He has no clue of what integrity is…but didn’t we know that before he acquired this position?

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