Over at The American, I go over the president’s big plan to put us back on solid financial grounds. In short, last night was another State of the Union address, and another series of promises to tackle spending while adding billions of dollars in new spending measures.
As we know, the centerpiece of his plan is a three-year freeze on everything but 84 percent of the budget. That’s right — it affects only 16 percent of the budget in FY2011. Plus, there are so many caveats and loopholes that this plan is little more than a joke. For instance, the freeze won’t apply to the half-trillion in unspent stimulus funds. Nor will it apply to the $247 billion of Troubled Asset Relief Program funds or to any of the programs that cash from repaid TARP funds will pay for, such as the $30 billion to prop up community bank lending to small businesses proposed by the president during his speech.
Then we got the traditional laundry list of new initiatives aimed at helping middle-class families, small businesses, students, their grandparents, their parents, and every interest group he could think of. There was, of course, the usual call to expand Pell Grants and move forward on health-care reform.
All this, we were told, would be paid for with the $20 billion in cuts he mentioned in passing.