Thursday, May 7th, 2009 at 1:07 pm
Ending Bad Habits
Today the President released his full budget providing all the details for the blueprint that Congress recently approved in the Budget Resolution. Having spoken about his vision to create a new foundation for the country a few weeks ago, today he returned to that theme:
We're doing everything that we can to create jobs and to get our economy moving while building a new foundation for lasting prosperity -- a foundation that invests in quality education, lowers health care costs, and develops new sources of energy powered by new jobs and industries.
But one of the pillars of this foundation is fiscal responsibility. We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits don't matter and waste is not our problem. We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration -- or the next generation.
That's why I've charged the Office of Management and Budget, led by Peter Orszag and Rob Nabors who are standing behind me today, with going through the budget -- program by program, item by item, line by line -- looking for areas where we can save taxpayer dollars.
He referenced the 100-program volume of Terminations, Reductions, and Savings released by OMB Director Orszag in his blog post this morning, and went on to give a few examples of how these programs represent the long-standing bad habits in Washington. He mentioned an obsolete navigation system that still gets funding, a literacy program that devotes half its budget to overhead, an a Department of Education outpost in Paris whose work could easily be accomplished here at home.
In addition, we're going to save money by eliminating unnecessary defense programs that do nothing to keep us safe, but rather prevent us from spending money on what does keep us safe. One example is a $465 million program to build an alternate engine for the Joint Strike Fighter. The Defense Department is already pleased with the engine it has. The engine it has works. The Pentagon does not want and does not plan to use the alternative version. That's why the Pentagon stopped requesting this funding two years ago. Yet it's still being funded.
These are just a few examples. But the point to remember is that there are consequences for this kind of spending. It makes the development of new tools for our military, like the Joint Strike Fighter, more expensive -- even prohibitively so -- and crowds out money that we could be using, for example, to improve our troops' quality of life and their safety and security. It makes government less effective. It makes our nation less resilient and less able to address immediate concerns and long-term challenges. And it leaves behind a massive burden for our children and grandchildren.
He closed by reiterating all of the ways the Administration has fought for fiscal discipline already, from supporting "pay as you go" rules, to ending sibsidies for insurance companies, to empowering government employees to find and suggest efficiencies. He pledged that this was just the beginning.