EDITORIAL: Obama is killing the economy

Barack Obama has the worst budget record of any president in American history. White House budget office spokesman Tom Gavin claimed “a very strong beginning” for the president’s purported first-year attempts at controlling spending - for example, zeroing out a $17 million program for work incentive grants. But such paltry efforts are round-off numbers compared to the gush of red ink created by President Obama and congressional Democrats. This government is setting the United States on an inevitable path to permanent debtor status.

The White House entitled Mr. Obama’s first budget “A New Era of Responsibility,” which essayist Roger Kimball observed should have been called “Gone with the Wind.” Mr. Obama’s budget, coupled with the $787 billion stimulus slush fund, was the most irresponsible in history. The effects of his ruinous policies can already be measured. The 2009 budget deficit tripled over 2008. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product went from 3.1 percent in 2008 to 9.9 percent in 2009. The deficit for the first month of fiscal year 2010 was $176 billion, which was greater than the $161 billion deficit for the entire 2007 fiscal year.

The hits keep coming. Public debt as a percentage of GDP was an already-high 40.8 percent in 2008. The Congressional Budget Office - which is run by Democrats - estimates this figure would more than double to 81.7 percent by 2019. That’s a rate not seen since the end of World War II. This figure is likely to be revised upward; between June and August 2009, budget scorers had to raise their estimate for the fiscal 2011 deficit by 33 percent. CBO projects a softening but still brisk increase in future debt based on reduced growth in government spending, which is highly unrealistic, and a trillion dollars in new taxes, which is frighteningly likely.

Back in February 2009, at the beginning of the fiscal bloodletting, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag preached that “elevated budget deficits are beneficial.” But by November, Mr. Obama warned that, “if we keep on adding to the debt… people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”

People certainly have lost confidence in the president. A CNN poll from the second week in January showed that 62 percent of the public disapproves of Mr. Obama’s handling of the budget deficit, and 54 percent disapprove of his economic policies in general. In a January Quinnpiac poll, 53 percent said Mr. Obama is fiscally irresponsible. A Bloomberg poll from the first week of December showed that 60 percent believe that chronically high deficits constitute a high threat to economic performance, and 57 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of the issue. An October 2009 NBC News poll showed that 62 percent believed controlling the federal deficit was more important than boosting the economy.

The debt outlook is increasingly bleak. Congress shows no desire to rein in spending, and is debating a heath care bill that will add even more red ink. The amount of debt owned by foreign countries is increasing, confidence in the dollar is dropping, gold prices are soaring, energy costs are rising, the trade deficit is widening and Mr. Obama’s first year Gallup approval rating has fallen faster than any president since records have been kept. Connect the dots. The Obama administration is an unmitigated economic disaster for this country, and most Americans are worried about that.

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