It all depends on what you mean by "austerity"

Thursday’s Post: With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.

Sunday’s Times: Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before the World War II buildup and eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets in a new spending proposal that officials describe as the first Pentagon budget to aggressively push the military off the war footing adopted after the terror attacks of 2001.

The proposal, described by several Pentagon officials on the condition of anonymity in advance of its release on Monday, takes into account the fiscal reality of government austerity and the political reality of a president who pledged to end two costly and exhausting land wars. A result, the officials argue, will be a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

I haven’t posted a diary in ages, but the contrast here was so jarring I couldn’t resist pointing it out. Above are the headlines and the first two paragraphs of stories that ran three days apart. Three days!

I didn’t realize we had even entered the “era of austerity” Obama wants to end. According to this Heritage report, FY 2001-08 spending averaged $2.5T while FY 2009-13 has averaged $3T.

The setup couldn’t be more clear….

  • The Democratic handlers have decided what ads they want to run for the mid-term elections decrying how the GOP is looking to screw the little guy.
  • Obama will propose to add tons of new spending – all for us little people of course.
  • Round 1 of ads will hit the airwaves this spring, using comments from any Republican who says we can’t afford this.
  • The GOP will help pass 98% of what Obama wants.
  • Round 2 of ads will hit the airwaves this summer, whining about the other 2%.
  • Troops and taxpayers will get the shaft.
  • By ‘coincidence’, red state defense contractors and bases will be hit harder than blue state ones.
  • The GOP will run ads saying that as conservatives, they valiantly fought to save our troops and hold the line on spending.