Emerson, Einstein and the Obama Budget

February 16, 2012 by

Ralph Waldo Emerson called “foolish consistency . . . the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen. . . ”  Einstein saw insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  They foresaw the FY2013 “budget” President Obama submitted to Congress the other day  (no budget has been passed since he became President).

As headlines across the country noted, the $3.8 trillion budget would “delay” debt reduction, continue annual deficits at about $1 trillion per year,  and include a new $350 billion “stimulus” package.  Though he had told Congress in September that (future) budgets would hold annual deficits under $600 billion per year and raise foreign-held U.S. debt to $17.7 Trillion (73% of GDP) by 2021, the new budget shows “out year” figures higher than $600 billion deficits in 9 of 10 years, and foreign-held U.S. debt at $18.7 Trillion — a full $1 Trillion higher, at 76.5% of total U.S. economy.

The President has also been consistent on energy policy since he was a candidate and in his State of the Union address, when he promised  an “all of the above” energy policy:  he called for elimination of tax incentives worth about $4 billion per year for some U.S. oil companies.  Those few companies would be damaged competitively, as the only ones targeted for reduced incentives that would double-tax them (on overseas earnings), eliminate the 2% manufacturers tax credit (that would continue for every other U.S.manufacturer), and end (for the largest U.S. oil companies only) tax treatment on drilling and related costs).   Russian, Venezuelan and Chinese National Oil Companies (among others) are gleeful at the prospect of weakened American companies.

Of course, the budget would spend millions more to increase energy efficiency in buildings, $310 million to make solar cost-competitive by the end of the decade, and $95 million to help develop offshore wind technologies.  Those desires are consistent and repetitive as can be.

White House Chief of Staff (and former OMB Director) Jacob Lew oversaw this budget; he defended it on every Sunday talk show, forgetting Obama’s pledge as a candidate to halve the annual deficit by the end of his first term.

Once again, the President has decided to ignore all the discussion and need for budget cuts and smaller deficits.  He continues to throw money at “green” energy schemes and companies in hopes that they will provide manufacturing jobs by the million, and will turn the U.S. economy around before the November elections.  He promised those things as a candidate and he remains consistent on his energy policy goals, tax subsidies to favorites, and the intent to damage the competitive U.S. oil and gas industry — the engine that drives the American economy.

Emerson and Einstein knew what they were talking about.

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