Former U.S. Comptroller General Slams Obama Budget

February 13, 2012

DAVID WALKER: It is largely a reprise of what the president sent to the so-called super committee, with more debt-financed investments, if you will. Now the president is putting certain things on the table, like for example Medicare and Medicaid reductions but he's not specific enough. He's not talking about transformational tax reforms. He's not talking about reconsidering our promises in health care because we've way over-promised. He's not putting Social Security on the table. He's way short of cutting the budget deficit in half by the end of his first term, if you will, and so what we need, quite frankly, is we need to be more truthful to the American people, that it is going to take more revenues. We have to renegotiate the social insurance contract.

HOST: Because when you talk about being truthful, it's set up as this false choice at least in my opinion. We can't do austerity now. That would hurt the economy and right now, we need to grow the economy. But when you talk about over-promising in health care, you can make long-term changes now that don't hurt the economy now. You can do a lot of things that help the budget, if you make changes when it comes to people's incentives and choices in the long-term that have nothing to do with helping or hurting the economy now.

HOST: Do you think that right now politically it is palatable to make the changes? Can Obama do that and get any bipartisan support realistically? This is not in defense of what he's doing. I'm saying we're at this moment.

WALKER: We're not going to see any significant tax social insurance or other reforms before the election. We're not. But understand what this is. This is the president's proposed budget. It should have been much more specific, much more substantive than it is. At the same point in time, who is responsible for passing the budget? The Congress. The Congress hasn't passed a budget in over 1,000 days and counting. Guess how many years in the last 60 years that Congress has passed appropriations bills on time? Four. Out of 60 years, and even when it passes a budget and appropriations bills on time, do you know how much of the budget it controls? Thirty-eight percent and declining. You can't run a family this way. You can't run a business this way. We can't run our country this way. We need dramatic and fundamental reforms. We need more leadership from the president, and we need leaders of Congress to start acting on behalf of the country relative to their party.

Published under: Federal Budget , Media