WASHINGTON -- Uncontrolled government spending is far worse than previously projected just a few months ago, driving the federal budget much more deeply into debt, which threatens our economy and our future standard of living.
This fiscal year's budget deficit is expected to climb to nearly $1.5 trillion, which would be the biggest one-year deficit gap in American history, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
It is the result of a still weakened economy, 9 to 10 percent unemployment that has sharply cut federal tax revenues, and a Democratic Congress that was on an irresponsible, nonstop spending binge for the last two years.
The previous CBO projection for the 2011 fiscal year was $1.3 trillion, but its latest estimates show the government's fiscal position is worse than ever and could climb higher, according to independent analysts.
The latest report will give further weight to Republican efforts to make deep spending cuts in the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends in September, and next year's budget as well. All revenue and spending measures must begin in the GOP-controlled House, and the Republicans will have the upper hand in driving budget policy for the next two years at least, if not beyond.
Total government debt is now more than $14 trillion and outside budget. Experts say it will continue to rise exponentially unless President Obama's over-the-top spending policies are substantially curtailed.
How bad will our government's fiscal position get? Brian Riedl, the Heritage Foundation's lead budget analyst, paints the government's grim fiscal future in a memo released last week, which has become a must-read on Capitol Hill. Among Riedl's findings:
-- Spending projections are actually worse than CBO's numbers show, because of the "unrealistic assumptions" that Congress requires CBO to employ to make future deficits appear smaller, such as assuming all tax cuts will expire, the AMT (alternative minimum income tax) will never again be patched, and discretionary spending will remain frozen to inflation.
-- "The ten-year deficit is actually $13.6 trillion, and annual deficits never fall below $1 trillion."
-- Ten years from now, the budget deficit "is expected to reach $1.9 trillion, and the debt will hit nearly $25 trillion, or 104 percent" of the economy's entire gross domestic product (GDP) -- "and even that assumes a return to peace and prosperity."