CAGW Scorches Final Obama Budget | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Scorches Final Obama Budget

For Immediate Release Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318
February 9, 2016  

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) reacted with dismay after President Obama released his record-breaking final budget proposal, which is once again filled with mountains of ill-conceived spending priorities, while only paying lip service to government waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.  Worse yet, for the eighth consecutive fiscal year, President Obama’s budget does not balance within 10 years.  His $4.1 trillion plan would critically exacerbate the $19 trillion debt. 

Among the budget’s problematic spending proposals is making permanent the subsidies for long-time renewable energy corporate welfare denizens like wind and solar.  Furthermore, the president’s budget proposes a doubling of clean energy research and development funds.  CAGW demonstrated in its December 2015 report on “Solar Socialism” that these technologies cannot pass muster in the free market, and do not deserve taxpayer assistance.  Contrarily, if an industry shows promise in the marketplace, then by definition it is self-sufficient and does not merit federal funding.  President Obama intends to pay for this clean energy spending surge in one of the most short-sighted ways possible:  a $10.25 per-barrel tax on oil.  Such a tax would be passed onto consumers in every socio-economic category, and most adversely impact low-income Americans.

Other troublesome provisions include a proposal for so called “free” community college, which doubles down on the disastrous government policy on student loans.  The budget proposes an expansion of the already fraud-riddled Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), without the necessary safeguards to prevent more taxpayer money from being lost to improper payments.  In 2014, 27.2 percent of EITC payments were made in error, resulting in $17.7 billion in losses.  Over at the Pentagon, the Defense Department’s (DOD) off-budget slush fund for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) would be increased by $1 billion under the president’s plan.  If OCO was a federal agency it would be the fifth largest.  There was no reduction in funding for the disastrous F-35 fighter program, which has seen countless setbacks and delays. 

The budget proposal does contain modest improvements in small areas.  The document acknowledges the importance of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) as a necessary component for improving IT acquisition.  This view stands in stark contrast to former U.S. Chief Information Officer (CIO) Steven VanRoekel, whose his lack of support for FITARA earned him CAGW’s June 2014 Porker of the Month. 

The 186-page document devoted just four pages to “Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings.”  The 117 proposed actions would save $14 billion in FY 2017.  Not only is that figure the lowest proposed amount of savings in many years, it is an infinitesimal 0.003 percent of the overall federal budget.

CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “President Obama’s final budget doubles down on nearly every wrongheaded policy he has proposed over the past seven years.  This swan song budget follows the same well-worn path of enabling the government to pick winners and losers, intensifies failed initiatives by throwing more money at them, and introduces a regressive tax on oil that will hurt all Americans.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. 

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