Most of the time he spends the Iraq savings in the context of the roads he wants to build; sometimes it’s for the teachers he wants to hire. Tonight, he riffed rhetorically on the savings, asking how many scholarships could be funded, or how many schools could be built. In the end though, presuming he really saves $90 billion, he can only spend it once.
Remember he also mentioned rebuilding the military ($7 billion/yr); his education initiative ($18 billion/yr); and his energy initiative ($15 billion/yr). He did not mention the $188 billion that he would spend on the brand new stimulus package he has proposed.
If he closes every loophole as promised, saves every dime from Iraq, raises taxes on the rich and trims the federal budget as he’s promised to do “line by line,” he still doesn’t pay for his list. If he’s elected, the first fact hitting his desk will be the figure projecting how much less of a budget he has to work with – thanks to the recession. He gave us a very compelling vision with his ad buy tonight. What he did not give us was any hint of the cold reality he’s facing or a sense of how he might prioritize his promises if voters trust him with the White House.
Remember back in the first debate when Jim Lehrer asked both candidates what they would be willing to cut in order to save money due to the bailout? Not only did Obama say he wouldn’t cut anything, but he also went so far as to say that he wanted to fund more programs.
So where’s Obama going to get the rest of the money he will need to fund everything he wants? Pull it out of his butt? He will have to tax the middle class. That’s the only way he’s going to get the money he needs to fund the new government programs that he wants.