Tad DeHaven

In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama said that he wanted an American economy that is “built to last.” Today’s release of his fiscal 2013 budget proposal shows that the president still thinks he can build economic prosperity with more spending, taxes, and debt. Those are the building materials for an economic time-bomb that will explode on future generations.

The following charts show that federal spending and debt as a share of the economy would remain at elevated levels under the president’s budget proposal:

Given that policymakers always seem to find an excuse to spend more money than was planned – and that there are virtually no limits on what the government can spend money on – these figures could prove to be optimistic.

So forget about the president’s cheap sloganeering about “investing in our future.” And ignore the double-talk about “re-establish[ing] fiscal responsibility.” The fact is the president is proposing to spend $47 trillion dollars over the next ten years – almost $6 trillion of which would go toward interest on the debt alone. This budget isn’t about creating an economy that’s built to last – it’s about keeping the president’s Democratic constituencies satisfied in November and selling voters on the impossible promise of more free lunches.

Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven is a budget analyst at the Cato Institute. Previously he was a deputy director of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget. DeHaven also worked as a budget policy advisor to Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).

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