The spin, and the facts, on Obama’s spending freeze

Here’s the spin and the facts from the White House – and from Republicans – on the spending freeze in President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Spin: Obama is announcing a five-year freeze on a portion of government spending.

Fact: In fact it’s only partially new. He proposed a three-year freeze during last year’s State of the Union, and put it into place. So this extends last year’s proposal by two years.

“It is true that we already had a three-year freeze, so there were already significant savings in the budget. But we’ve extended that by two years,” Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to Obama, said Tuesday afternoon.

Spin: The White House is selling the freeze, as Sperling put it, as “one of the deepest and toughest spending restraint budgets that has been seen by a president.”

Fact: They are freezing less than one half of one fourth of the budget. The current budget is $3.8 trillion, but for general purposes, consider the budget to be roughly $3.5 trillion each year over the last few years. Of that amount, about $2.5 trillion is mandatory spending, much of that being entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Of the $1 trillion that is left over in discretionary spending, only about $400 billion in annual spending fits into the category that Obama is freezing.

Another way to look at this is that the total budget is just under 24 percent of the economy, or gross domestic product, which is roughly $15 trillion. Obama is freezing a portion of the budget that is only two percent of GDP.

Obama does admit in his speech that he is freezing “a little more than 12% of our budget.”

“To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t,” he says, according to his prepared remarks.

Spin: The White House says they will reduce the deficit by $400 billion over 10 years. The $400 billion figure will stick in people’s minds. The 10 year window likely will not.

Fact: That’s $40 billion a year cut from the projected deficit.

Spin: Obama will say he is cutting spending. A White House fact sheet Tuesday said: “This freeze will require substantial cuts, including to programs the president supports.”

Fact: The freeze can only be considered to be cutting spending in the context of future budgets, and in the light of the fact that those future budgets have automatic increases baked into them, often to account for inflation. To be fair, Republican “cuts” are also figures derived from counting against future projected spending levels.

  • truebearing

    Obama’s State of Delusion speech was his usual pablum, designed to feed his idiotic base and hopefully confuse Independents. It was vintage Obama, sugar coating his complete dishonesty and trying to obfuscate, and buy time.

    The Prince of Lies knows that he can achieve much of what he wants through regulation, so he isn’t worried about the House, and he has no intention of fixing or cutting back on entitlements. His entire act was to look centrist and bait the Republicans into trying to take the lead in the ugly job of cutting the popular programs that are bankrupting our country. If they do, the press will attack with a vengeance.

    People have to remember that Obama cares only about himself, and what he sees as an extension of himself: his leftist ideology and people with brown skin. He is a narcissist of pathological proportions and he will do, or say, anything to maintain power. He will lavish payoffs on his friends, and destroy those who refuse to accept his entitlement to power and praise.

    Obama will never cut entitlements when he knows they will help him stay in power. The left has used entitlement programs to gain power, ie votes, for many years, they invented them. We not only have a president who recognizes that these programs buy votes, but one that believes he is entitled to power. He sees himself as a Marxist Demi-God, just like his mentor, George Soros.

    I hate to break it to the Scarecrow demographic, but his fork-tongued “centrism” is a ruse.

  • Tess_Comments

    Great Spin ad Fact Article.

    Where was Obama’s (Black and White) Ribbon honoring Gifford???????

    NO to any new spending initiatives — disguised as “investments.
    Stop the Spending, Stop the Handouts, Stop the subsidies.
    The US needs TORT Reform.
    Repeal the “Affordable” (ha ha) Health Care Law.
    Fix Medicare and state run health care insurance.
    Put a stop to all the regulations.
    Open up oil drilling in the US.
    I sincerely hope the Republicans are up to the Challenge of dealing with Obama.
    Obama should check out the economics of Thomas Sowell.