Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Federal Deficit to Hit $1.6 Trillion

According to the Obama Administration and the Congressional Budget Office, the federal deficit is expected to hit $1.6 trillion this year.

Another $9 trillion will have to be borrowed to finance the deficit. Consequently, the national debt will be an estimated $23 trillion by the end of 2019.

In fairness, President Bush bears some responsibility for this state of affairs. The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have played no small part in the rise of our deficit despite their necessity. But let us also remember that President Bush presided over the biggest expansion of government seen since LBJ even if we are to exclude defense spending. Lest we forget the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit which is estimated to cost over $1 trillion over the next decade. This is more than twice its original expected cost. Let's also not forget the $700 billion bailout put forward by President Bush last fall.

Yet this is accelerating under President Obama's watch. It is curious that these numbers are being announced as President Obama is playing golf in Martha's Vineyard. Needless to say it will tee off a lot of people. It doesn't make for very good politics. As sure as the sun rises in the east, if President Bush were on the links as these sort of numbers were being released then Obama would have pounced on him no sooner than the ink had dried.

In fact, do you remember the "fiscal responsibility" summit at the White House last February? President Obama blasted the "casual dishonesty" of the federal budget during the Bush Administration. He said, "We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration and the next generation.” Yet this is precisely what is happening under President Obama's watch.

Having written all that I will say that I harbor no illusions that the size of the federal government will ever be reduced. It didn't happen with Reagan. It didn't happen with either Bush and it sure as hell isn't going to happen now and we are all to blame to some degree. As long as there are unlimited wants and politicians (Democrat and Republican alike) who are in favor of re-election the size of the federal government will never be reduced. At best, one can perhaps slow the growth of federal spending but one can never reduce it in absolute terms. There is no such thing as small government in a land of 300 million people. Perhaps we get the government we deserve.

Nonetheless, it is difficult to see how President Obama can justify Obamacare under the current circumstances. Yet I'm sure that won't stop him.

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