Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - It should be well known by now that President Obama holds the all-time, blockbuster records on federal spending, budget deficits and debt.

In less than four years, the cost of the government's annual budget has soared to nearly $4 trillion, exceeding the Treasury's tax revenue by well over a trillion dollars a year. The result: four consecutive years of trillion dollar-plus deficits have piled $5 trillion onto the nation's debt. That debt is now at $16 trillion and climbing.

No other president in U.S. history has spent as much or run up budget deficits as large. No president has plunged our country into as much debt, which threatens to engulf our fragile economy and its future solvency.

But did you know a large chunk of this spending is being doled out by Obama to buy his way into a second term? Did you know the White House has been tapping into the federal spending pipeline -- as if it was his own campaign checkbook -- handing out your money in key battleground states that will decide this election?

No, make that buy this election.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of Obama's largesse is Ohio, a pivotal electoral prize that will likely decide who the next president will be. Obama is running ahead there right now, but he was targeting this state many months ago with generous budget handouts that are now being promoted at re-election time. He's calling in his chips.

Last March, Obama pledged to establish up to 15 major manufacturing centers across the country. Not surprisingly, the first place to receive a federal grant and tax giveaways was Ohio -- a state that his campaign made his No. 1 re-election buying target.

"When the Obama administration awarded tax credits to promote clean energy, the $125 million taken home by Ohio companies was nearly four times the average that went to other states," the Washington Post reported this week.

"And when a Cleveland dairy owner wanted to make more ricotta cheese, he won what was then the largest loan in the history of the Small Business Administration," the Post said.

There is something very wrong about the spectacle of the president doling out tax dollars to special interests to benefit his campaign. Your tax dollars. Money that may have made a difference in the lives of tens of millions of Americans, if they had been allowed to keep more of it to pay their mortgage or send their kids to college, or just to put food on the table.

Obama is always talking about the importance of a "level playing field" in our economy so that everyone has "a fair shot." Yeah, sure. But not in presidential elections. He has control of the money we send to Washington and he'll use it in anyway that benefits his campaign. And he's brash enough to say how much this benefits him politically.

"One of the tastiest investments the government has ever made," Obama joked during a campaign visit to Ohio when he pointed to the Cleveland dairy his administration rewarded. If your business didn't get one of these loans, too bad. You weren't on Obama's list of re- election states.

But the $1.1 trillion budget deficit he's running up this year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, is no joke. It is plunging our economy ever more deeply into unfathomable debt that further threatens our nation's credit rating which has already been lowered a notch under this president.

Worse, it's burying future generations under a mountain of debt that will have to be paid back, either in the form of higher taxes, fewer economic opportunities, and weaker job growth than we have now.

Political apologists for Obama's campaign say this kind of federal spending during a campaign cycle is perfectly legal and a common political practice in every presidential election.

But not at the oversized levels Obama and his political gang have raised it in this election. The SBA has approved 2,726 loans for Ohio businesses this year, an astonishing number for a single state. "That is nearly 500 more [loans] than Florida, a state with 7.3 million more people," the Post pointed out.

Unbelievably, the administration maintains that this has nothing at all to do with Obama's campaign. Gil Goldberg, who runs the SBA's Cleveland district office acknowledged that his agency made the White House aware of the loan to the dairy owner, but said that "politics did not enter into it all." Sure.

Politics has permeated every policy action undertaken in the Obama White House since his very first day in office, especially in the hundreds of billions of dollars it doles out each year to special interests, often with political ties to his administration.

Especially clean energy programs whose direct grants, federally- guaranteed loans and tax credits went into green energy deals written and pushed by business cronies who were among Obama's biggest campaign fundraisers.

In an exhaustive investigative report on these deals, the Post -- who endorsed Obama in 2008 and will likely do so again -- concluded that his green-energy programs were "infused with politics" at every level of the decision-making process.

Obama's scandal-ridden, $40 billion job stimulus, clean energy investment program is awash in bankruptcies and thousands of layoffs -- not to mention hundreds of millions of dollars in debts that taxpayers will have to pay off.

Campaign surveys show that Obama's record-breaking budget deficits and mounting debts are near the top of the voters' chief concerns, just below jobs and the economy. It's one of the issues voters say Mitt Romney is better able to handle than the president.

Economists and budget analysts tell me that it's worse than the public realizes. "The economy is in the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, unemployment remains unacceptably high, and middle class prosperity is rapidly vanishing. Federal finances are headed for a Greek-style train wreck by the end of the decade," says University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.

Meantime, Obama is spending whatever it takes to keep himself in office for another four, big spending years.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.