Donald Lambro

"The president promised, 'If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it," Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the GOP's Senate campaign committee, says in an op-ed column for the Austin American-Statesman.

"In fact, employers have already started dropping insurance coverage in direct response to Obamacare. The president promised his law would 'slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses and our government.' Instead, premiums for family coverage rose by 9 percent last year," Cornyn writes.

Higher costs for gasoline and health care, along with a weak, high unemployment economy, will be lethal issues in the coming general election, both for Obama and the Democrats generally.

A Gallup poll says the lackluster Obama economy and the nation's persistently high unemployment rate are the two top concerns that Americans say will most influence their vote for president.

But Obama's record budget deficits and the nation's growing debt load are at No. 3, with 79 percent of voters saying the issue is either "extremely or very important" in how they will vote in November.

Obama is already out on the hustings defending his failed presidency, but he has little if anything to say about his budget deficits and the national debt. It's as if the issue does not exist in his political thinking, or he does not think voters will vote on that issue.

Obama's campaign strategists hardly touch the deficit and debt issues, either, and you rarely hear Democratic leaders in Congress calling for action to bring down the deficit. It is an orphan issue for which no one wants to take responsibility. Democrats are focused on more spending, not cutting.

In the past three-plus years of this administration, even when Obama's party controlled both houses of Congress, Democrats have not passed a budget.

The Republican House this week unveiled its budget plan to curb spending and shrink the deficit, but it's already dead on arrival in the Senate where Democratic leader Harry Reid wants to spare his party the discomfort of voting against GOP spending cuts in an election year.

But this isn't an issue that's going away. Instinctively, voters connect growing deficits and debt as the enemy of a prosperous economy and rising employment. Economic analysts have arrived at the same conclusion.

"Ultimately, what goes up must come down. In the case of the federal budget, this means that a deficit-financed boost to growth will eventually lead to a drag," financial analysts Jan Hatzius and Alex Phillips concluded in study last year.

Writing in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings at the end of 2009, economists Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff wrote: "Our main finding is that across both advanced countries and emerging markets, high debt/GDP levels (90 percent and above) are associated with notably lower growth outcomes..."

The budget plan Obama sent to Congress last month is filled with preposterous assumptions like near-4 percent economic growth that he says will sharply cut the deficit by 2017 when he hopes he'll be leaving office after a second term.

If you buy that one, says economist Peter Morici, Mayor Bloomberg "is selling shares in the Brooklyn Bridge."


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.