Let's imagine that President Obama decides to go help out in Fargo, N.D., where they are experiencing floods. Mr. Obama enters the home of a flooded family. The water is already 6 inches high in the living room. The president produces a fire hose and begins to douse the room with even more water. "What are you doing?" cry the anguished homeowners. The president fixes them with one of his impatient looks and explains "May I remind you that I inherited this flood?"
President Obama has reminded us countless times that he inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. Even if he were about to propose the most responsible, prudent, visionary budget imaginable, that complaint would still be petulant and unseemly. But considering what Obama's own spending will do to the deficit, it's jaw-droppingly galling. He now proposes to increase that deficit to $7 trillion in 10 years. And that $7 trillion is probably a low estimate (the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will be $2.3 trillion higher). When the new spending for programs like Pell Grants, education for handicapped children and so forth comes up for renewal in a few years, Congress is not going to let it lapse. So, to review, it was terrible for President Bush and the Democratic Congress (the president neglects to mention them) to saddle him with all this debt. His answer is to triple it. That's showing 'em!
Some cynics insist that Democrats only decry spending they dislike (such as on the military) and Republicans only deprecate spending they dislike (such as on welfare). There's a germ of truth in this -- but only a germ. In the first place, a significant number of Republicans chastise other Republicans for failing to live up to their lean government principles. And some Republicans are honest enough to criticize spending their party generally favors. John McCain, for example, has been a scourge of Pentagon contractors. It's hard to think of a comparably positioned Democrat who has targeted waste, fraud, or abuse in social service programs or education spending.