- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 21, 2009

President Obama has been decrying large deficits as “unsustainable.” We agree but point out that it’s Mr. Obama’s spending binge that is creating the problem.

Mr. Obama’s rhetoric has been consistent as president and as a candidate. On the campaign trail, he said that if elected, he intended to shrink government and cut deficits. During the last presidential debate on Oct. 15, he criticized the Bush administration, saying, “We are now looking at a deficit of well over half a trillion dollars.” Mr. Obama said cutting the deficit was the solution to the nation’s financial woes.

Candidate Obama also said that it would be necessary to cut federal spending. “But there is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means, and we’re going to have to make some adjustments,” he said in that third debate. “Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”

Fast-forward six months. President Obama got a $787 billion stimulus package passed. Now the federal deficit has grown to more than $1.8 trillion - and that’s just the beginning. Mr. Obama’s proposed budgets are predicted to produce a total deficit of $9.3 trillion from 2010 to 2019. Even by his own estimates, his health care reforms easily could add $634 billion to this total.

Mr. Obama is right, as he said last week, that deficits “will have a dampening effect on our economy,” but he is wrong about the reason. Deficits are dangerous to the economy because of the prospect that taxes will be raised to meet the burden. Taxes discourage work. A $2 trillion deficit this year amounts to a $23,400 obligation for each of the 85 million tax filers who pay taxes. With a $9.3 trillion deficit, that tab comes out to about $109,000 per taxpayer. Eventually someone is going to have to pay the president’s bills.

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