Obama’s Budget Hits Seniors Right In Their Dinner Plate

Jim Martin Chairman, 60 Plus Association
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The president released his budget blueprint earlier this month, which, like his previous six budgets, has as much chance of going anywhere as a unicycle in a car wash. Call it the Brian Williams budget, not just for its flimsy grasp of reality, but also because it gets more unbelievable the more you read it.

The president who crowed at his State of the Union address about tackling the deficit tacks another half trillion dollars of I.O.U.s onto our tab, with a 10-year projection taking the national debt from $18 trillion today, to $26 trillion in 2025.

Reducing the growth of trillions of dollars in new debt is considered a success by this administration. With the U.S. Treasury enjoying all-time record tax revenue, both in real and inflation-adjusted dollars, of $3.16 trillion, Obama still managed to bump up the deficit 20 percent over 2014’s red ink. It’s Mardi Gras and Las Vegas rolled into one in D.C. these days — they never had it so good!

And while there’s enough doom and gloom in the debt figures to keep America’s pharmacists busy for years, there’s plenty more in the president’s budget priorities to test our blood pressure. Defense spending continues to be gashed during a surge of global terrorism while the regulatory factory known as the EPA gets a hefty $452 million bump. Obama has stated quite clearly that America’s biggest threat is global warming, and for that fight he is hiring more EPA soldiers to march on American businesses, power plants, farms and ranches.

Never mind that for the last few years the EPA has been mired in scandal, from John Podesta’s hefty payoff from a Swiss billionaire opposed to American energy, to falsifying email accounts to avoid court-ordered transparency. They are central to Obama’s environmental agenda, they are his team, and for their commitment to the cause, no expense is spared.

Also not being spared, the American farmer and rancher. The eco-cops at the EPA are ramping up their regulations to seize land, regulate water supplies, ban herbicides, and generally plow the fertile lands of our food producers with ever more regulatory weeds. Obama’s EPA cares not about the effect on local farming communities or the regulations’ impact on soaring food prices; after all, they are fighting a war.

It’s not just EPA either.  Obama wants to up spending at the USDA – the main regulator of farmers and ranchers – by $1 billion as well.  Amazingly, one of the only areas of the USDA budget to get cut is crop insurance, a system that’s run by the private sector and partially funded by farmers own money.  Guess the president thinks government can run crop insurance better, too.

Topping off their increasingly aggressive stance against American agriculture is Obama’s proposal to increase the death tax to a rate that would double it in some instances, and close a loophole in the step-up basis of family farms or parcels of land for sale. The death tax is already a killer for farmers and ranchers who are far from rich, but who are blessed with land that has vastly increased in value during their lifetime. Unable to pay off Uncle Sam, family farms and ranches are chopped-up for auction or re-purposed, scattering farming families like so much dirt in a dust bowl.

And this is the real danger of Obama’s budget blueprint, the continued push and promotion by him and his party for policies that wreck lives, and make us all worse off in an already unstable economy. For seniors, this is downright frightening.

Food prices have soared since Obama took office; beef up 35 percent, eggs 33 percent, produce 13 percent, dairy 16 percent, seafood 20 percent, and on and on. For the more than 70 percent of U.S. seniors living on fixed incomes, incomes have increased a meager 8 percent. While global factors have had some influence, there is no doubt that the economic, tax, environmental and regulatory policies pushed by Obama for the past six years have taken food right off seniors’ dinner table. When government won’t go on a diet, it seems the rest of us have to.

So what’s the big deal anyway, many might say. With both Houses of Congress firmly under lock and key of the GOP, Obama’s budget should be filed under ‘pie in the sky,’ right next to Dan Snyder’s Super Bowl game plan. True, the President’s budget as a whole won’t pass, but in the back and forth of budget negotiations, a legislative game of ping-pong that frequently features Republicans without a paddle, any new directive coming from the White House, even if heavily watered down, spells trouble for all of us.

Republicans have already balked at defunding Obamacare, and many on Capitol Hill are already wincing at a potential showdown over funding for the Department of Homeland Security since that department finances the president’s amnesty order. If Congress doesn’t express a more aggressive stance toward protecting agriculture, property rights and taxpayers in the budget they plan to submit next month, Americans can expect to keep paying more, and getting a lot less in return. A lot less of everything except for government, of course.