Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

White House Budget Director Affirms Governor Palin’s Assertion–President Obama Can’t Prioritize Spending

Last week, Governor Palin appeared on Hannity in part to discuss the current debt ceiling debate.  Governor Palin referenced President Obama’s comments earlier in the week where he said he was not sure that the federal government could pay Social Security benefits if the debt ceiling was not raised. She said:

We have the $200 billion coming into the federal government every month. It takes $35 billion — I’m sorry, billion dollars — we have $35 billion that we must use to service the debt, $50 billion that we must use to write those Social Security checks, $2.9 billion to pay for our military personnel, and then other essentials.

You prioritize. Our president essentially suggested the other day that he’s not able to prioritize. As the chief executive of our nation, he cannot prioritize, and that’s why he suggested that Social Security checks may not be written come August 2nd if that debt ceiling isn’t increased.

No. You pay for the essentials first and then the non-essentials have to get cut. They have to wait.

Today, Obama administration budget director, Jacob Lew, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, affirmed Governor Palin’s assertion that the Obama administration is incapable of prioritizing spending. To CNN’s Candy Crowley’s credit, she pushed Lew on this issue of prioritization of funds in the situation that the debt ceiling is not raised, and Lew did not provide an answer:

CNN’s Candy Crowley, HOST: "More immediately, you’d have to make some spending priorities — payment priority decisions: Social Security benefits, and federal worker pay, and defense contractors. What are your priorities should the debt ceiling not be raised on the 2nd, when you have the bills that immediately come due? Social Security checks, federal worker pay, defense contractors?"

Jacob Lew, WH Budget Director: "Our plan is for Congress to do its work and the President to sign into law legislation that will make it possible for the United States as it always has, to keep its obligations. We’ll be ready to deal with whatever happens. There is no plan other than meeting our obligations."

CROWLEY: "Surely you must have discussed priorities, though, we have to pay this?"

LEW: "The truth is this is a different situation the United States has ever faced. We’ve never gone into a situation where we didn’t have enough money to pay our bills. We borrow 40 cents on a dollar right now. And if the time comes when we lose the ability to pay our bills, there will be a cash flow issue that is very real, and that’s why it’s critical that Congress take action before August 2nd."

CROWLEY: "Would you allow it to happen that those the Social Security checks would not go out? Would you allow that to happen?"

LEW: "As the President has indicated, it’s not a question of what we allow and what we don’t allow –"

CROWLEY: "But you get to decide priorities. There will be some money –"

LEW: "There will not be enough money to pay all the bills."

CROWLEY: "Of course not, that’s why I’m talking about priorities."

LEW: "I think that once someone gets into the business of trying to ask about setting priorities it misses the question. Which is that it’s unacceptable for the United States to be in a place whether it’s Social Security recipients, or a soldier or somebody who is just owed money by the government can’t be paid because we have not done our job."

The Obama administration has no reason to avoid the question, nor be unwilling to prioritize funding. The CATO Institute had a great piece up last week discussing the debt ceiling in which they re-emphasize Governor Palin’s point– the debt ceiling does not need to be raised when spending is prioritized and proper cuts are made. In fact, according to the CATO Institute,  if our federal government was willing to cut spending back to 2003 levels,  the roughly $200 billion in tax revenues would be more than sufficient to cover Social Security, Medicare, military pay, and servicing the interest on the debt. Obviously, there is no need for Social Security and Medicare recipients, folks who have had money deducted from their checks for decades to go towards these programs, to not receive their payments, nor is there any need for soldiers, who defend our freedoms, to not receive their pay, regardless of what happens to the debt ceiling.

When Governor Palin speaks of prioritizing spending, she’s not playing the role of armchair executive. Governor Palin has prioritized spending and made cuts, even in times of surplus. Her prudent budgeting has been well documented, as she cut the Alaska budget 9.5% during her time as Governor. She vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars in unneeded spending, rejected stimulus funding that would not be effective in Alaska’s climate, and removed duplicated federal/state funding from her budgets. At the same time, Governor Palin’s tenure included implementing a Senior Benefits program for low income elders. She also increased funding for students with disabilities in rural schools and increased funding for special needs education. Overall, she increased special needs funding by 175%. The very things that Governor Palin called for are the very things that she has done during her political career. She prioritized and budgeted accordingly—cutting unneeded spending and providing funding for people who needed it most. How much more are such prioritizations and cuts needed in harder economic times?


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  • Joneshuynh

    Mr. Lew,
    You are an idiot, how did you become a budget director is beyond me. Did you listen to Mrs. Palin?
    "We have the $200 billion coming into the federal government every month. It takes $35 billion — I’m sorry, billion dollars — we have $35 billion that we must use to service the debt, $50 billion that we must use to write those Social Security checks, $2.9 billion to pay for our military personnel, and then other essentials. You prioritize."
    This is how normal Americans are doing it everyday.

    • parigger

      Oblahblah is surrounded by communists idiots . Definition of insanity is repeatedly trying same thing  while expecting a different result, what else can you say about the dummy in office. I like to look for the good in people but have yet to see it in this phony and quit looking long ago           Governor Palin 2012

    • bradkarr

      EXACTLY!!!   All that guy did was talk in circles. That is what most politicians are known for and especially the Obama administration.

    • conservativemama

      Perhaps Obama should sit at the kitchen table of one of the families that find themselves unemployed because of his policies.  I’m sure that they know how to prioritize.  I’m sure they are right now deciding whether they have enough coupons on hand to allow them buy their food.  I’m sure they know how to decide which bill to pay first.

      • bejocy

        You know it won’t happen…or if it does, they will be a favored PC family.  He just doesn’t care, as he sees himself being better than almost EVERY Amerian.

  • Hyman Roth


    • bradkarr


  • Mr_Wednesday_Night

    If only Community Organizers had actual responsibilities…

    • Min Max

      Then they would be mayors…:p

  • Quiet_Righty

    I guess there’s a lot of shit you don’t learn at Harvard and Columbia.

    • bradkarr

      You learn what they know in CHICAGO

    • conservativemama

      You have no idea.  My daughter attends a private college in Massachusetts that is so far left.  Boggles the mind.  But the school has its good points and she has a great circle of friends.

      The best part, my daugher is technically a minority.  She and the very few other self-identified conservatives on campus are all minorites.

      • Guest


  • stlouisix

    Why should Obama prioritize spending when the sorry likes of McConnell are doing everything possible to unconstitutionally give him an out by allowing him to increase his credit limit to the tune of about $3 trillion?  Wow, that’s really going to reduce a country killing debt, right?   With friends like McConnell, who needs enemies? 

    • c4pfan

      Amen.  We are screwed.

    • John Norton

        Thats why s we need Sen. Jim in there instead of that week chin Moron…

  • parigger

    For an administration  that has yet to have a budget passed with both houses in his back pocket I’m not suprised. I fully expect Oblahblah to leave office in Jan 2013 without ever having a budget let alone having to prioritize. How’s that abscense of administrative experience working for all those commies who voted for this empty suit.   Governor Palin 2012

    • John Norton

      Unless theres a constitutional convention and throw the bums out,make palin chairman of said covention .Its just a thought but could work…I dont think the country can wait till 2013, this guy is smart enough to realize when his little gig is up…

  • GatorNavy

    Quiet Righty. No the problem is that, that is all they do learn.

    2012 YEAR OF THE ‘CUDA

    • bradkarr


  • Norcalo

    But of course, for Obama, spending IS a priority. So in that sense, Obama CAN prioritize spending.

  • NY59Giants

    The Obama Administration has been going from one ‘crisis’ situation to another the whole time. Some may say differently, but IMO they have allowed things to get to that point each time to attempt to manipulate the situation to their benefit, not to America. 

    • Whitney Pitcher

      Yep, the word "manipulate" wasn’t in the excerpt from Governor Palin that I used in this post, but she used the word "manipulate" several times in that appearance on Hannity in reference to what President Obama is doing to the economy. 

      • conservativemama

        In Obama’s world we’re living like the North Koreas and various other countries of the world.  Where people suffer because their government is so bad, so atrocious at what they do that they ruin their countries, their economies.  Obviously, it’s relative and we’re not at the level of North Korea.  But compared to what this country should be, we are seriously off track.

        But don’t lose heart.  Remember that the Eastern European countries lived for decades under Soviet control.  Remember Poland.  Sarah is our Lech Walesa and we are the Solidarity movement.  Remember the absolute courage that the Poles showed in facing down their leaders.  Remember how John Paul II gave them the spiritual courage to change their lives.  Remember how Reagan got them the copiers and fax machines they needed to facilitate communication among the dissidents.  We have that here with this website, with the web, with our omnipresent cameras, with our talk radio, with our voices and our courage to no longer be bullied into silence by our thuggish media and our arrogant, entitled leadership.  We are reclaiming our exceptionalism.

        We can reclaim our country and restore our dignity.  We are on the frontlines here.  Game on people, game on.

      • Iowa4Palin

        If you change one player in the debt ceiling drama, everything changes.   Substitute the Alaska point guard for the dufus who refuses to call a play.   She would face down those phony dems in the Senate and say, "I can immediately balance the budget in one week (with prioritization), or we can do it over the course of 4 years with much less pain; your choice….but make no mistake, I WILL balance this budget."     One Player…..substitution effective Jan. 2013… debt ceiling  —  GAME ON !! 

        • John Norton

          Isnt it amazing when the right person is in charge…

          • bejocy

            yeah, and we need her NOW

    • conservativemama

      I absolutely agree with you.  It goes back to Rahm Emanuel’s idea of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s their MO.  They can’t do want they want because people know that their ideas are losers, so they have to manufacture hysteria to get any support for their programs and actions.


      • Norcalo

        When I first heard "not let a crisis go to waste" I was infuriated by the arrogance of it.


      • bejocy

        I couldn’t agree with you more, conservativemama…
        I think that a government that has people getting up each morning, switching on the radio to see what ‘the government’ is going to ‘do to them’ or ‘rob them of’ today is nothing short of a sinister form of psychological terrorism. 
        These politicians are like a bunch of mad pit-bulls…watching for fear before they strike. 
        here’s evidence:
        Little old ladies wondering if they can afford food..or to stay in their home…
        Parents of kiddos with special needs wondering how they can maintain that diet, or purchase those Depends
        Military patriots wondering if they will come back home to the Nation they fought to preserve
        I agree…these ‘leaders’ are disgusting

    • John Norton

       You just hit the Bullseye…

  • c4pfan

    Rubio said it this morning as well.  Obama waits until the last min to create a fake crisis and the GOP falls for it each time.

    • Jasmine Clark

      rubio is awesome, i love him. on hotair’s quote of the day they have an interview with him with some liberal media guy who of course asked biased questions, and rubio swiftly punched him out!! (figuratively, of course! i don’t want to lose my civility in my words!!)

      • conservativemama

        Loving the Rubio!

  • RedDaveR

    Mr. Lew never did answer the question. The truth is, these people prioritize in order of where the money will provide the expected political benefit. Doing the right thing just doesn’t seem to register
    with this crowd.

  • JohnBarry2012

    WH budget director Lew was stunned as Crowley/CNN took him to task on economy 101. "It’s the job of the responsible congress to do its work and the president to sign into law". Simply stunning of the administration abdicating it’s fiscal responsibilities ( a new community organizer’s approach?).

    Rather than focusing on a balanced budget approach and dealing with the facts and reality of monthly gov income revenue: (as Sarah Palin advocates… • To prioritize by paying down the debt and pay essential services in propotion with %income revenue • To cut spending drastically towards balanced budget. Obama instead resorted to use the retirees, veterans and disables as his political pawn to withhold the SS cheques to get what he wants to increases taxes and to raise the debt ceiling. Where is the social justice of the Democrat? Isn’t that Social Security supposed to be in a lockbox?

    We can’t keep raising debt ceiling every few months, borrow to spent more and wait until a debt insolvency crisis occur to cut wasteful spending. The time is now to implement drastic wasteful spending cut to reduce debt. Obama brazenly uses the scaremongering tactics to fulfill his audacity of hope to accomplish his progressive agenda of tax-and-spent, wealth distribution and a bigger government—the failed Keynesian Obamanomic, which Goldman Sachs and Moody both bail, and one may add ?The champion of the free market, Alan Greenspan, Ex Fed chairman, is concerned about U.S. budget deficits. "U.S. Debt and the Greece Analogy"- Alan Greenspan.

    Obama seems to have a strangle hold on Republican house and senate minority leadership—that they don’t dare to let the chip fall, but to accept further compromise to extend the debt ceiling. Senator McConnell’s plan to give Obama $2.5 trillion dollars, to sideline Tea Party activist and let the president change the relationship between the Executive and Congress by giving him spending authority till 2012 (Rush Limbaugh… ) is a downright sellout and copout.

    Since WH and the democrat senate don’t even have a budget plan on the table, the onus is on the president and the democrat senate to agree on balanced budget amendment.

    • CBDenver

      RE:  the Social Security "lockbox" — yeah, what about that so-called Trust Fund that supposedly has all that money that we have been paying for all these years?  So many people think that SS is a big savings account for their retirement — but it is not.  They already spent all the money that was paid in the past, and can only pay current recipients using current contributors’ money.  The Trust Fund only has IOUs that must be redeemed using current tax receipts.

      When the stock market tanked in 2008, many people mocked the idea of SS privatization, saying that had people’s SS retirement funds been invested in the stock market, they would have lost money.  True, some money would have been lost — but not all of it.   I lost some money in my 401k in 2008, but not all of it.  The majority of my 401k nest egg is still there.

      But the big joke is that ALL of the SS money that we have paid into the system is gone.  All of it.  Gone.  Spent.  There is nothing left but some IOUs call Social Security Treasury Notes.  Payable by Uncle Sam, except our poor old Uncle has run out of money and credit.  At least with privatization of a portion of our SS contributions, we would have something left.  Just goes to show you that putting your faith and trust in the Nanny State is a bad idea.

  • jeaneeinabottle

    I think we should have a mass letter writing marathon to Washington and have it on record just what we think about him and his taxes and the debt!!  And while we’re at it send one to the Republican establishment too.

    • Kjanlady

      I think it’s time for 1 million angry Tea Partiers to march on Washington….it would reaffirm what we expect to both the community organizer and the cajoneless GOP Rhino leaders……they need to feel afraid……very afraid.

      • Hyman Roth


      • John Norton

        Its coming to that and soon when the speadker caves on raising the debt…Might have to drag them out by their bootstraps K…

    • Norcalo

      Agree 100% on adding the GOP establishment to the D establishment. Myself, I joined the Modern Whig Party ( ), but I like SLP because she’s promised to take on the GOP establishment, and of course the "D" as well. Anyone who is disgusted with both parties would do well to vote for Palin.

  • Lou Gutnicki

    I’m very upset that Obama has absolutely no consideration of people’s feelings. He scares old people to death telling them that their Social Security checks may be not go out on August 3rd. This is inexcusable. It’s not presidential. It takes real gall to scare seniors like that. If Obama can’t set appropriate priorities, he should step down now. It is absolutely clear that he must be defeated and it is also absolutely clear that Sarah Palin is the common sense choice for Obama’s successor.

    • John Norton

      Such is the nature of the beast…

    • wpmwindsong

      Obama has a real problem with seniors.  It seems to be a pattern.  They are the first on the chopping block in cutting spending, and he suggests they take a pain pill rather than life extending surgery.  This is the President of the United States. 

      Also, neither he nor Michelle visited his dying mother nor did they attend any kind of funeral or memorial service for either his mother or grandmother.   Something’s wrong with this man.

      • wodiej

        there’s ALOT wrong w him.  He’s the product of a twisted upbringing surrounded by twisted adults.

      • puma_for_life

        Seniors did not vote for him, it’s that simple. Seniors do not  support him, therefore he does not like them.

    • wodiej

      Obama is just acting out what he learned in the Saul Alinsky playbook.  There’s a great piece over at American Thinker about the liberal mob mentality:

  • nkthgreek

    What do you mean by the word "is"?

  • Nancy6

    Obama prioritizes, I know he wants us to eat peas.

    • Whitney Pitcher

      Yes, and we were all standing around drinking slurpees while he was trying to get the economy out of the ditch. Pea flavored slurpees for all!

      • wodiej


    • bejocy

      or pee on us

  • John_Frank

    Whitney, excellent post. Thank you.

    The interview by Jacob Lew is both revealing and disturbing. Revealing in that the line taken by Lew clearly shows this administration is unwilling to prioritize and cut spending, while being disturbing for exactly the same reasons.

  • 01_Explorer_01

    O’bummer is a socialist

  • Jasmine Clark

    WOW, very interesting!!! "what are your priorities?" "oh, priorities? that’s not important, nobody cares."

  • Guest

    My guess is that if it looks like Palin has a chance to win in 2012, Congress rigs the debt ceiling to blow up again by Jan 2013 as a special gift to the incoming president.  It would backfire because I believe a President Palin would welcome the opportunity to make these kinds of priority choices regarding where federal dollars are spent.  Painful, but necessary.  Turnaround CEOs know this drill extremely well.  In fact, such experienced business personnel may be just the right thing for cabinet level postings rather than the heavy reliance on public sector experience in the Obama administration.

    • John Norton

      Its more than a chanca its impearative…

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