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Morning Bell: A Sobering Wake Up Call

Posted By Conn Carroll On August 26, 2009 @ 9:16 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Defending mounting job losses [1] despite his administration’s $787 billion stimulus package, Vice President Joe Biden told [2] ABC News George Stephanopoulos last month: “The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off of in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there.” This is just not true. Yesterday the White House released their Mid-Session Review [3] admitting that President Barack Obama’s policies would force our nation to borrow more than $9 trillion over the next ten years.

Commenting on the gap between the new $9 trillion number and the $7 trillion number the Office of Management and Budget used to sell President Obama’s budget to Congress, the Washington Post reports [4]:

The extra $1.9 trillion in red ink mainly reflects the Office of Management and Budget’s adoption of more realistic — that is, more pessimistic — estimates of economic growth and unemployment. White House officials protest that their original, rosier numbers made sense at the time; actually, plenty of forecasters, including those at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, made more accurate calls. This situation was foreseeable and should have been acknowledged earlier.

While it is good that the Obama administration is finally admitting that the fundamental assumptions driving their economic policy were wrong, the reality of our current budget deficit, and what President Obama’s policies threaten to do to our national debt over the next decade, are truly sobering. Heritage senior policy analyst Brian Riedl details the carnage [5]:

  • Since World War II, the largest budget deficit recorded was 6.0 percent of GDP in 1983. The Bush Administration oversaw budget deficits averaging 2.0 percent of GDP. The projected 2009 budget deficit of 11.2 percent of GDP would nearly double the post-war record.
  • The 2009 budget deficit will be larger than all budget deficits from 2002 through 2007 combined. More than 43 cents of every dollar Washington spends in 2009 will have been borrowed.
  • While President Obama claims to have inherited the 2009 budget deficit, it is important to note that the estimated 2009 budget deficit has increased by $400 billion since his inauguration, and the whole point of the “stimulus” was to increase deficit spending to nearly $2 trillion based on the unproven notion that would it alleviate the recession.
  • The 22 percent spending increase projected for 2009 represents the largest government expansion since the 1952 height of the Korean War (adjusted for inflation). Federal spending is up 57 percent since 2001.
  • In 2009, Washington will spend $30,958 per household–the highest level in American history–and under President Obama’s budget, the figure will rise above $33,000 by 2019.
  • The White House brags that it will cut the deficit in half by 2013. The President does not mention that the deficit has nearly quadrupled this year. Merely cutting it in half from that bloated level would still leave budget deficits twice as high as under President Bush.
  • The public national debt–$5.8 trillion as of 2008–is projected to double by 2012 and nearly triple by 2019. Thus, America would accumulate more government debt under President Obama than under every President in American history from George Washington to George W. Bush combined.

And now for the real kicker: none of these numbers include the costs of Obamacare which would create another $1.5 trillion health care entitlement [6] on top of our existing unsustainable entitlement obligations [7]. The OMB’s Mid-Session Review should serve as a wake up call to the American people. President Obama’s policies are leading us down a path of unsustainable spending and borrowing.

There is another choice. Not all future spending is inevitable. [8] In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent $21,000 per household (adjusted for inflation). Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes. Alternatively, returning to the $25,000 per household level (adjusted for inflation) that Washington spent before the current recession would likely balance the budget by 2019 without any tax hikes. So with very little sacrifice, and no new taxes, the government could get its budget under control and the American economy could get fully back on track in three years.  Isn’t that worth considering?

Quick Hits:

  • Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) lost his battle with cancer yesterday, and Republicans joined Democrats [9] mourning his passing.
  • A wealthy New York investor and prominent Democratic Party fund-raiser with ties to President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton [10] was indicted Tuesday on charges of bank fraud.
  • The woman arrested by Denver police on suspicion of smashing 11 windows at Colorado Democratic Party headquarters appears to be the same woman who handles the books for many other Democratic-leaning political committees and was paid $500 by the leftist Colorado Citizens Coalition [11] for “communications” in November 2008.
  • According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service: “Under H.R. 3200, a ‘Health Insurance Exchange’ would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens [12]—whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently—participating in the Exchange.”
  • Discussing health care with a Wisconsin crowd, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) said [13]: “Nobody is going to bring a bill before Christmas, and maybe not even then, if this ever happens. … We’re headed in the direction of doing absolutely nothing, and I think that’s unfortunate.”

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/08/26/morning-bell-a-sobering-wake-up-call/

URLs in this post:

[1] mounting job losses: http://www.foundry.org/2009/08/07/jobs-down-247000-mission-accomplished/

[2] told: http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8002421

[3] Mid-Session Review: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/blog/09/08/25/Mid-SessionReview/

[4] reports: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/25/AR2009082502734.html

[5] details the carnage: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm2595.cfm

[6] $1.5 trillion health care entitlement: http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/wm2498.cfm

[7] existing unsustainable entitlement obligations: http://www.heritage.org/Research/SocialSecurity/bg2291.cfm

[8] Not all future spending is inevitable.: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/sr0063.cfm

[9] Republicans joined Democrats: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090826/ap_on_go_co/us_kennedy_reaction

[10] with ties to President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/nyregion/26fraud.html?hp

[11] Democratic-leaning political committees and was paid $500 by the leftist Colorado Citizens Coalition: http://blog.heritage.org http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_13199902

[12] H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTk1ODA5MmM5MjY5ODU5ZGI1ZGNmZTFjODMyNTdmNTU=

[13] said: http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0809/Feingold_Were_headed_in_the_direction_of_absolutely_nothing.html

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