President Obama’s Budget, the Continuing Resolution, and Difficult Choices

Several weeks ago, President Obama gave us a sneak peak at some of his priorities for the year in his State of the Union speech.  Now yesterday with the release of his budget we get to see numbers attached to those priorities.

The President’s message coming out of the State of the Union was very muddled.  While calling for a five-year freeze on domestic spending he simultaneously called for new “investment” (code word for more spending) in education, clean energy, infrastructure, high speed rail, among other things.

Let’s take high speed rail for example.

A few days after the State of the Union the administration unveiled a $53 billion “investment” plan to help reach the President’s goal of giving 80% of Americans access to high speed rail within 25 years.  Governor Kasich rightly rejected this funding knowing it will ultimately cost the state of Ohio even more dollars while providing little benefit for the state.
So, while the President continues to spend more money on wasteful projects like high speed rail the Republican held House of Representatives is in the midst of a debate on slashing spending.  The House this week is set to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year and they are making some difficult choices to bring our fiscal house in order.
One of the tough choices is funding for job training programs.  On its face, this would seem like the last program Congress should cut while so many people are unemployed; however, a closer looks shows job training programs are ripe for cuts. Congress has poured billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars into these programs, which at best have shown little to no evidence of actually helping people find jobs and at worst have been fraught with waste and abuse.  The unemployed deserve much better than face saving programs that don’t actually help them get jobs.

Congress should continue to make the difficult choices to rein in spending and focus on removing the barriers to job creation that currently hinder our business community.

Originally posted at the Buckeye Institute

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