President Obama unveils his $3.8 trillion budget Monday and behind the curtain will be an increasing national debt, along with some spending freezes he hopes will stem the tide.
"I've proposed a freeze in government spending for three years," Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House.
"This won't apply to the benefits folks get through Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare. And it won't apply to our national security, including benefits for veterans...Freezing spending does not mean we won't cut what doesn't work to pay for what does."
The fiscal 2011 budget proposal, should Congress approve, would increase the deficit by $1.3 trillion, but Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag told Fox and Friends this morning that number will be chipped away over time.
"The budget does two things; it brings the deficit down over time -- [there is] more than a trillion dollars in deficit reduction contained in this budget-- while also investing in job creation this year. Those are the two key imperatives that we face."
Jobs have become the administration's new rallying cry, supplanting a fervent dialogue on health care. To prove his loyalty to the cause, Mr. Obama is pitching a $100 billion dollar jobs measure in Monday's budget.
But Republicans are not impressed. "Regrettably, the budget the Administration today submitted to Congress is nothing more than a plan for more of the same," House Budget Committee Ranking Republican Paul Ryan (WI) said in a statement.
"[It's] a very aggressive agenda of more government spending, more taxes, more deficits, and more debt - with just a few cosmetic budget maneuvers to give the illusion of restraint."
However, Orszag says there are places to cut, too, "We're proposing, under [Defense] Secretary Gates' leadership, canceling the C-17 and canceling the alternative engine for the F-35. We are eliminating fossil fuel subsidies," he said, adding, "My personal favorite is we are eliminating payments to states and localities for cleaning up abandoned mines after they are already done cleaning up the abandoned mines."
But the very freeze the Administration has been touting for days is nothing more than a facade, say critics, "[The President's] so-called 'freeze' on some discretionary spending follows an 84-percent increase - and has no clear means of enforcement," Rep. Ryan lamented.
To reach his goal of eliminating $1.2 trillion from the budget over ten years, Mr. Obama is going to need more than his spending freeze and cuts, which include a $100 billion dollar tax cut measure. The President is also urging Congress to allow tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 expire.