President Obama’s budget deficit this year will hit $1.2 trillion, following three previous monster deficits of $1.3 trillion, $1.3 trillion and $1.4 trillion.
This adds $5.2 trillion to the government’s public debt, which by the end of this year will total more than $16.4 trillion and climbing.
To say the government is spending our money like there’s no tomorrow is a monumental understatement. But the president rarely talks about his mounting debts, hoping the voters will forget that side of the fiscal equation when they vote in November.
He sent a $3.8 trillion smoke-and-mirrors budget to Congress in February, and this week, the Senate rejected it by a bipartisan vote of 99-0. The nightly network news programs ignored the story, as they do most Obama budget stories that threaten the nation’s future solvency.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, believing its chief responsibility is passing an annual budget, dutifully passed one earlier this year and sent it to the Senate, where Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid declared it dead on arrival. There will be no budget this year because there is no need for one, Mr. Reid imperiously declared.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has not passed a budget in the past three years and has no plans to do so as long as Democrats rule the roost.
But Republicans, seeking to put Mr. Obama’s party on record about his big-spending blueprint, asked for the yeas and nays on Wednesday, and the clerk called the roll in a democratic exercise as old as our government.
The result: Not a single Democrat wanted to touch Mr. Obama’s debt-drenched budget with a 10-foot pole, let alone give it an “aye.” This is a tough election year, and no one was willing to take one for the team, even Democrats who are not up for re-election.
“A sitting president of the United States, seeking re-election, can’t lay out a plan that will gain a single vote in the House or Senate for the financial future of America,” said Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. “It speaks volumes.”
This is all pretty astounding stuff that caused nary a ripple of surprise or concern here in the nation’s capital.
But when House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio had the temerity to suggest that when the debt-ceiling increase comes up later this year, it will have to be accompanied by new spending cuts - well, all hell broke loose.
Speaking for the president, who didn’t want to get his hands dirty in another budget debate, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner accused Mr. Boehner of delivering an ultimatum that would trigger another credit rating crisis.
“This commitment to meet the obligations of the nation, this commitment to protect the creditworthiness of the country, is a fundamental commitment you can never call into question or violate,” Mr. Geithner said.
“We hope they do it this time without the drama and the pain and the damage they caused the country last July,” he added.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the mouthpiece of the Senate Democrats, said: “It is pretty galling for Speaker Boehner to be laying down demands for another debt-ceiling agreement. The last thing the country needs is a rerun of last summer’s debacle that nearly brought down our economy.”