By Iain Murray
Published July 16, 2011 | FoxNews.com
As the Oscar buzz surrounding actress Meryl Streep keeps growing — thanks to her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, it’s worth remembering one of the real Iron Lady’s most famous observations: that any housewife could manage the British economy.
President Obama should heed that advice, and realize that economy begins at home. Unfortunately, his recent statements on the economy give little reason for hope on that front.
The president’s press conference on Monday epitomized the “do something” nature of his administration. He wants to do something about … well, everything—from getting more kids into college to fighting global warming (although the latter is less evident these days, at least in public). The trouble is that he thinks he needs more and more of our money to do it, so he wants any budget deal to include tax rises.
Let’s take the example of college education grants, which the president suggested should be funded by an increase in taxes on millionaires like himself. The president’s budget request for 2012 contains an allocation of $36 billion for increased Pell grants for students from poor backgrounds to attend college. That’s out of an entire federal budget request of $3.7 trillion, which makes Pell grant expenditure just 1 percent of the total.
Looking at that from the viewpoint of Mrs. Thatcher’s proverbial housewife, we can compare it to the median household income of about $46,000, which, after taxes, is about $3,000 a month.
The size of the problem that President Obama singles out as requiring tax increases is equivalent to a household budget shortfall of $30 a month. A competent economic manager should be able to deal with that sort of problem by tightening his or her belt elsewhere. The president’s seeming incapability to contemplate this demonstrates just how out of control the federal spending machine is.
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