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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Obama links solutions to more spending

Saturday, February 16, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

For someone who acknowledged government can’t solve every problem, President Barack Obama proposed a spectrum of programs and spending during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

“Americans don’t expect government to solve every problem,” he said in his nationwide address, then outlined a litany of federal programs on manufacturing, infrastructure, housing education, energy and climate change.

Specifically, they include:

• Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, a network to promote and invest in — Washington-speak for spend tax dollars on — American-made production.

• A “Fix It First” program directing $15 billion to repair infrastructure.

• Allocating $15 billion to help communities with foreclosed and vacant properties.

• Federal programs for preschool, high school and higher education.

• Tax credits for renewable energy and competitive grants for states that increase energy efficiency.

Obama failed to mention how his proposed billions of dollars in new spending would mesh with two other pronouncements — his goal to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion in the next decade and his promise Tuesday that none of his new proposals would increase the deficit “by a single dime.”

On the domestic front, Obama also touted increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour, immigration reform and gun control issues.

He gave short shrift to foreign policy, mentioning North Korea, Iran, Syria, Mali and Israel.

A bright spot came early in his address when he announced “our soldiers are coming home.” Obama said 34,000 U.S. troops will return home by this time in 2014, leaving roughly an equal number to train Afghan forces.

Obama also told the nation: “We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong.”

We find this pronouncement overly optimistic.

Automatic spending cuts loom once again, on March 1. Although Obama on Tuesday gave lip service to “reasonable compromise,” he displayed little inclination to do so.

In addition, proposing more federal spending in the face of crushing federal deficits is counter-productive.

In his speech, Obama said “we can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

We don’t believe we can spend our way to prosperity.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.


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