Donald Lambro

In a letter to congressional leaders Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he will have only $50 billion in his accounts by mid- October when the government's monthly borrowing will hit the $16.7 trillion statutory debt ceiling.

The Constitution gives Congress control of the federal government's pursestrings, but Lew wants Congress to raise the debt limit without any strings attached.

The Democrats who run the Senate are perfectly happy to raise Obama's credit card authority as high as he wants.

Republicans, however, want significantly deeper budget cuts in exchange for more borrowing. Conservatives in the GOP-controlled House are demanding that any increase in the debt limit be offset, dollar for dollar, by spending cuts or other savings.

"The debt limit remains a reminder that, under President Obama, Washington has failed to deal seriously with America's debt and deficit," said Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel.

Indeed, Obama's been fighting serious budget cuts over the course of his presidency, while spending has soared at an alarming rate.

Annual spending was less than $2 trillion in 2000. It has grown to nearly $3.5 trillion in 2013, and is projected to be well over $4 trillion by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

"This year's projected spending will be more than in any year of the George W. Bush administration. And more than 30 percent higher (accounting for inflation) than the last year of President Clinton's term," writes Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold.

The number of federal workers has mushroomed, too, he says. The administration puts the figure at 4.1 million and maintains it has fallen under Obama. But the numbers "do not count a vast number" of private contractors who do government work full-time. The trade association for these contractors puts their number at 1.7 million.

"Obama turned a temporary expansion of government, through TARP and the auto bailouts, into a permanent expansion of government,"

writes Stanford University economist Keith Hennessey.

"Before Obama, federal spending averaged 20 percent of GDP for decades. Now he is presiding over a much bigger government, at 24 percent of GDP," Hennessey says.

Higher spending (along with weak economic growth) is feeding our mounting debt, and untold future generations will have to foot the bill.

As things stand now, each American's share of that debt comes to $32,000. If the government's spending levels continue on their upward trajectory, that figure climbs to $103,827 in 2032, then to $206,771 in 2044, and a mind-boggling $279,738 by 2050, according to U.S.

Census and Congressional Budget Office figures.

That's the disastrous course on which Obama has put our country and our future livelihood, and this is what will be at stake in next month's debt ceiling fight in Congress.

Obama and the Democrats will play the fear card and try to make this all about stopping Social Security checks. But don't be fooled or frightened by their rhetoric.

This is a fight worth having for the future of our country. The stakes could not be higher.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.