President Barack Obama got some bad news this week. A week after the White House released its new budget, which calls for another $1 trillion in tax hikes, Americans don’t seem all that impressed, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Tuesday:
President Obama’s courtship of Republicans hit a critical point last week when he unveiled a budget proposal pitched as an effort at compromise. But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans’ initial reactions to the framework tilting negative, with broad opposition from Republicans and little public support for a key idea to reduce increases in Social Security payments.
Overall, roughly one-third of Americans offer no opinion on Obama’s budget, but those who do, lean against it (30 percent approve; 38 percent disapprove). The negativity stems from large opposition among Republicans (63 percent) and a negative split among independents (26 percent approve; 41 percent disapprove).
It would seem, at least this time around, that Americans aren’t buying into the the stale class warfare rhetoric that they’ve endlessly heard from President Obama. Unbelievably, the White House is trying to spin this budget as fiscally responsible.
Jeff Zients, President Obama’s chief economic adviser, wrote on the White House’s blog that “[t]he President’s Budget provides a specific and responsible plan for continuing this progress. It shows how we can live within our means while further growing the economy, strengthening the middle class, and securing the nation’s future.”
That’s an interesting word choice. How do we “live within our means” when the public share of the national debt is expected to exceed $5.7 trillion over the next 10 years — and even that is based on rosy scenarios and budget gimmicks. And it’s not like this budget is even relevant, at this point, given that the White House was two months past the legal deadline to submit it to Congress. The House and Senate have already acted on their own, though they are unlikely to find a workable agreement.
The White House simply doesn’t take our fiscal situation seriously. The rates of spending growth may have declined — thanks to a Republican-controlled House — but the budget proposed by President Obama does very little two undo the excess of his first term in office.