Budgeting has never been at the top of President Obama's list of priorities. For the fourth time in five years, the White House missed the statutory deadline Monday for submitting its annual spending blueprint to Congress. Mr. Obama isn't in a rush to let the world know that his intention is to keep spending the country into the red.
The House hopes to change that on Wednesday. The lower chamber will vote on a bill insisting the president submit a budget that comes into balance within 10 years. Should he fail to comply, he would have to submit a supplemental budget by April 1 identifying the exact year when his ledgers would even out.
Rep. Tom Price, the bill's sponsor and Budget Committee vice chairman, thinks this will encourage responsibility. "President Obama has overseen record deficits of more than $1 trillion each year he's been in office, adding nearly $6 trillion in national debt onto the backs of our children and grandchildren," the Georgia Republican told The Washington Times. "It's time for the White House to get serious about the enormous fiscal challenges facing our nation, and that begins with putting 'pen to paper' on a federal budget that actually comes into balance."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, reviewed presidential budget submissions since 1923 and concluded Mr. Obama has missed more budget deadlines than any other president. He also holds the record for the longest delay (98 days in 2009).
White House spokesman Jay Carney was ready with excuses for his boss on Monday. He explained the president puts forth budgets that are "balanced deficit reductions" -- i.e., tax hikes -- that have the "overwhelming support" of the public. Mr. Carney blamed the House for submitting a "highly partisan budget that has no support among the American public."
In fact, Mr. Obama's 2013 budget was so extreme in borrowing and spending that it didn't receive a single vote in either the House or the Senate. The House passed its blueprint on time and provided a concrete date for returning the federal books to balance. Only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outshines Mr. Obama when it comes to dereliction of duty. The House lit a fire under the Nevada Democrat by threatening to take away his paycheck. A provision was added to the short-term debt limit increase that withholds Senate pay if it fails to pass a budget by April 15. Mr. Obama signed the measure into law on Monday.
The need for these strong-arm tactics became even clearer Tuesday when the Congressional Budget Office released its economic outlook. The nonpartisan agency's analysts predicted the economy will continue to stagnate this year, with a mere 1.4 percent growth in gross domestic product. That's not enough to create jobs, so the report expects the official unemployment rate to remain around 7.5 percent through 2014. In just 10 years, our government's debt will be $26 trillion and equal to 77 percent of all the goods and services the economy creates in a year.
It's going to take a lot for the economy to recover from the devastation caused by Obamanomics, but at least the House plans will help shed light on what's really happening. The president's plans are reckless and unsustainable, and the more people who realize that, the better.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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