Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- America's fiscal and economic outlook is looking a lot bleaker under President Obama's impotent and misguided spending-stimulus policies.

While there are fragile signs the recession appears to be bottoming out and making a tenuous comeback in parts of the economy, the painfully slow turnaround has had little to do with the Democrats' huge $800 billion spending binge that hasn't made a dent in the nation's unemployment rate.

Indeed, the White House announced this week that the jobless rate will climb next year and remain high in 2011 in the face of record budget deficits and a tripling of the government's public debt.

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White House projections in its mid-session fiscal review tell the story. The government's annual budget deficit has never hit $500 billion, but under Obama's spending policies, it will sail over $1.5 trillion this year, a quarter of a trillion dollars more than the administration estimated in May.

Under its latest projections, the deficit will remain at $1.5 trillion in 2010, falling to $1.12 trillion in 2011 and then down to $800 billion in 2012. If the new numbers are anything like their previous estimates, we can expect them to turn out much higher than projected.

All this means massively higher public debt that stood at $5.8 trillion at the end of fiscal 2008, but that will nearly triple in 10 years to $17.5 trillion.

But don't expect this added spending to stimulate the economy anytime soon. On the contrary, the administration expects unemployment to remain in the higher ranges for the next several years at least.

The White House originally projected the economy, as measured in the gross domestic product, would shrink by 1.2 percent this year, but now expects GDP to decline by 2.8 percent, while independent analysts say the contraction could be deeper than that.

The administration isn't any better in its unemployment projections, which were more than a little rosy earlier this year. It projected the jobless rate at 8.1 percent this year, falling to 7.9 percent in 2010 and 7.1 percent in 2011.

This week's annual unemployment projections: 9.3 percent this year, 9.8 percent in 2010 and 8.6 percent in 2011. Many outside analysts say unemployment will hit 10 percent next year and decline very slowly after that.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.



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