At the invitation of the Republicans, President Obama spoke at the Republican retreat last Friday. During the following Q & A, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas rose to ask the final question: "You are soon to submit a new budget, Mr. President. Will that new budget, like your old budget, triple the national debt and continue to take us down the path of increasing the cost of government to almost 25 percent of our economy."
Rep. Hensarling's statements regarding President Obama's budget last year, supported by almost every Democrat, including those supposedly fiscal conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, were completely accurate, taken directly from the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). That 25% of our economy refers only to the cost of the federal government. State and local government adds over 50% more, increasing the total cost of government in America to almost 40% of GDP already.
But President Obama responded as if the question were completely illegitimate, saying, "I've just got to take this last question as an example of how it's very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we're going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running a campaign."
On Monday, President Obama publicly submitted his new budget. That budget forthrightly answers Rep. Hensarling's question, even though President Obama would not in the light of a national TV broadcast. President Obama's own budget confesses that it would more than triple the national debt from $5.8 trillion at the end of 2008 to $18.6 trillion by 2020.
Indeed, it would almost double the national debt in just four years from 2008, to $11.5 trillion in 2012. The budget also confesses that under President Obama's first three years, 2009-2011, the federal government will borrow over $4.2 trillion. As the Wall Street Journalreported last week, "That is more than the entire accumulated national debt for the first 225 years of U.S. history."
During the glorious 2008 campaign for hope and change, then candidate Obama harshly criticized George Bush for running $3.3 trillion in deficits over his eight years in office. But President Obama's new budget confesses that he will run up that much in deficits in just two years and three months. Moreover, as Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation reported on Monday, "President Obama would run up more debt over his eight years than all other Presidents in American history -- from George Washington to George Bush -- combined."
But at the Republican retreat, when he was on national television, President Obama refused to take responsibility for any of this. Further responding to Rep. Hensarling, who had said, "what were the old annual deficits under Republicans became the monthly deficits under Democrats," President Obama said that "had nothing to do with anything we had done." He went on to repeat basically what he had said during his State of the Union Address earlier in the week, "By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program."
Heritage's Riedl corrected President Obama on Monday, saying, "This is simply not true. The policies mentioned by President Obama were implemented in the early 2000s. Yet even with all those policies in place, the 2007 budget deficit stood at only $162 billion."
President Obama's budget admits a federal deficit for 2010 of $1.6 trillion, ten times as much as that 2007 deficit of $162 billion, which was the deficit for the last budget adopted by Republican Congressional majorities. This was where Hensarling got his statement that the annual deficits under the Republicans had become the monthly deficits under the Democrats, to which President Obama wrongly responded, "that's factually just not true, and you know it's not true."
But the truth is that President Obama's $1.6 trillion deficit for 2010 is the largest in world history, rising still more from last year's record $1.4 trillion deficit. And this record 2010 deficit assumes continued record low interest rates this year on our gargantuan national debt. If interest rates rise, then federal spending and deficits will explode still further due to interest costs on that debt. The Obama budget already projects that net interest spending will soar to $840 billion by 2020, more than four times current levels.
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