United States Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), today criticized President Obama's 2014 budget proposal.
As a small step toward making entitlement programs sustainable in the long-term, the President's budget proposes a move to "chained CPI," which would slow the rate of growth of Social Security payments. But the proposal takes one step forward and many steps back toward long-term fiscal responsibility and prosperity by authorizing $160 billion in federal spending above the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) February estimate for 2014. "The budget spends a total of $3.778 trillion in 2014 -- 6-percent above the FY2013 federal spending level projected by CBO -- and includes $1.1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade.
"This budget framework barely recognizes the need to reform our entitlement programs, and yet it continues unsustainable federal spending levels, which makes it a far cry from a responsible proposal," said Flake. "Additionally, it calls for tax increases to pay for additional federal spending and never balances. Any realized savings should go toward reducing the debt and toward making entitlement programs solvent, not toward more federal spending."
"Taxpayers deserve a budget proposal that puts the federal government back on a fiscally sound path. This is not that proposal."
The President's budget would slow the rate of Social Security payment growth by moving to chained CPI, thereby tying cost of living increases to a more accurate estimate of benefit recipients' reactions to price increases. Chained CPI will save Social Security $127.2 billion over 10 years (through 2023). Social Security projects a $254.1 billion deficit by 2024.
The President's budget proposal is based on the so-called "grand bargain" the White House proposed in December, 2012 to Congress as a way to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. Not surprisingly, this offer was rejected as the proposal included hundreds of billions in tax increases.