Mona Charen

Even taking account of the Democrats' traditional love of lavish government programs, the current gusher quite takes your breath away. In just the first two months of his term, President Obama has proposed the largest increase in federal spending since World War II. If his budget in enacted, the national debt will be close to 100 percent of GDP in nine years. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate is massively increasing government debt at the same time that individuals are struggling to reduce their private debt. So Mr. and Mrs. Jones are cutting back on meals out at restaurants, new clothes, new cars, and fancy cell phones, while the government is going into deep debt on their behalf to pay for windmills, universal preschool, and lots of new transfer payments dressed up as "making work pay." In other words, the state is taking decisions about how much debt Mr. and Mrs. Jones will incur out of their hands. The Joneses will have to pay back the debt some time (or their children will), but they will not be paying off their own purchases or their kids' college educations. Instead they will be paying for the Democrats' dream agenda. As the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore notes, "Most of the money that has been borrowed since September 2008 has been used to bail out irresponsible borrowers, failed financial institutions and car companies, and for expansions of welfare programs. ... Any unbiased assessment of the return on investment ... for these programs would find dismally low payoffs for taxpayers."

The sheer size of this proposed debt is making even Europeans quake. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has three times declined the urging of Obama administration officials to mimic America's debt spree. Some Europeans are even becoming role models for Republicans. As Veronique de Rugy reports in National Review Online, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., introduced an amendment "to ensure that the budget of the Federal Government is put on a sustainable path by prohibiting consideration of a budget resolution that does not meet the minimum standard of budgetary discipline as defined by the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty): a budget deficit no larger than 3 percent of GDP and government debt no larger than 60 percent of GDP." The amendment was rejected.

Sen. Gregg, nobody's idea of an hysteric, is profoundly worried: "... if you take all the debt of our country run up by all of our presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush, the total debt over all those 200-plus years since we started as a nation, it is President Obama's plan to double that debt in just the first five years that he is in office."

To quote the theme song of the TV show "Monk," "If you paid attention, you'd be worried, too."


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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