WASHINGTON -- If President Obama thinks the political disaster that hit his party last month in Massachusetts was bad, he had better brace himself for the Congressional Budget Office's latest economic forecasts for the next two years. In testimony before the House Budget Committee last week, which got scant news media attention, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf painted a bleak forecast for the nation's economy under the White House's no-jobs, no-growth tax-and-spend policies. It spells even deeper political losses for the Democrats in Congress than are presently forecast.
Elmendorf, who was appointed by Democratic congressional leaders, told the committee that economic growth will be painfully slow over the next several years, which will keep the national unemployment rate at an average of 10 percent throughout fiscal 2011, which ends in September of that year.
Contrary to Obama's Herbert Hoover mantra that economic recovery and more jobs are just around the corner, the CBO budget chief said the economy will grow by a weak 1.6 percent this fiscal year and the jobless rate will average 10.2 percent.
CBO's outlook for 2011 is just as bleak. The nation's gross domestic product (GDP), the measure of its economic growth, is expected to barely reach 1.8 percent, while unemployment will show little or no improvement: averaging 9.8 percent for that fiscal year.
The administration's unprecedented budget deficits are expected to be more than $1 trillion this year and the next, and stay at very high levels for years to come.
Deficits such as these mean that the government's massive debt burden will be at historically dangerous levels that will imperil our country's future and our economy's solvency, he said.
"It is true that as we push (public debt levels) in this country to 60 percent of GDP at the end of this year and beyond that over the next few years, we're moving into (debt) territory that most developed countries stay out of," he told the committee.
If we continue this profligate level of spending, "that raises the risk" of serious economic consequences for our country, he warned.
But Elmendorf isn't the only one sounding the alarm over the Obama administration's binge spending and no-growth economic policies.
"We are presently in a dangerously risky economic environment, more risky than any in memory and that includes the 1970s," Stanford economist John Cogan told me.