NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 26, 2009

President Obama said Monday that his "administration has inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit" for fiscal 2009.  The extraordinary size of that deficit is due, of course, to what one would have hoped were passing circumstances and one-time policies: a recession, a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry and that part of the $787 billion "stimulus" President Obama signed last week that will actually be spent in this fiscal year.

"And that's why today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office," President Obama said at his summit.

But what does that mean, asks columnist Terence Jeffrey?

  • The administration says President Obama's promise to "cut the deficit we inherited in half" means he will reduce it from $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2009 to $533 billion in fiscal 2013.
  • This $533 billion deficit -- that President Obama vows will be the lowest annual deficit he runs in any of the next four years -- is larger than any deficit the profligate President Bush ran before this recessionary year.
  • In fact, President Obama's planned $533 billion deficit for fiscal 2013 is more than twice as large as the $248.1 billion deficit Bush ran in 2006 and more than three times as large as the $162 billion deficit Bush ran in 2007.

In other words, President Obama is planning to permanently increase the scale of government borrowing -- even before we are hit by the fiscal tidal wave that will come when the bulk of the baby boom generation retires and begins collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits, says Jeffrey.

Every dollar President Obama borrows and spends, like every dollar President Bush borrowed and spent, adds to the permanent burden of government laid on the backs of our children.

Last year, then-Comptroller General David Walker reported that every American household would have to put up $455,000 to cover the $53 trillion gap that already exits between the entitlement benefits promised to living Americans and the tax revenue currently expected to pay for those entitlements.

On top of this, President Obama has just promised to add more than $2 trillion to the national debt over the next four years, says Jeffrey.

Source: Terence Jeffrey, "Obama's Deficit Charade,", February 25, 2009.


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