WASHINGTON -- President Obama thinks the debate over raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling isn't the place or the time to be discussing runaway spending.
Essentially, that was his message Monday in a full-court press assault on Republicans in Congress for having the temerity to suggest that before we raise the debt ceiling by another $2 trillion, maybe we should begin discussing how to reduce spending, how to shrink our monstrous national debt and how the government must begin living within its means.
But with the government debt soaring toward nearly $19 trillion -- and likely to skyrocket to $25 trillion by the end of Obama's second term -- if this isn't the time to map out a plan to bring spending down, when is it?
The president says that will come after the debt ceiling is raised and not before. But Republicans and taxpayers have bought into Obama's flimflam promises before and have come up empty-handed when budget-making time rolled around.
The president knows he can depend on the Democratic majority in the Senate, which has been a black hole where GOP House budgets disappear, never to be seen again.
House Republicans have sent over budgets to slow the growth in spending, and each time, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has tossed them into the wastebasket. It is not widely known by most Americans, but we've been without a budget for the past three years because the Senate has refused to adopt a formal budget resolution. Reid says we don't need one.
But living within one's means requires making a budget and sticking to it. Families do it. States do it. But when was the last time you heard President Obama call on Congress to send him a budget? He seems to be happy without one.
And why not? It's allowed Obama and the Democrats to engage in their favorite fiscal pastime: deficit spending.
They've been on a historically unprecedented spending binge since 2009. Here are the budget deficits over the past four years to prove it: $1.4 trillion in 2009, $1.3 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011 and an estimated $1.2 trillion in 2012, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This year's budget deficit, according to the CBO, is on track to come in at $1.1 trillion.
If you are counting, this adds $6.3 trillion to our national debt, and yet Obama says the debt ceiling debate isn't the appropriate time to talk about budget cutting.
House Speaker John Boehner doesn't see it that way. "The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time," he said Monday in response to Obama's attacks on the GOP.