When President Barack Obama entered office in January, the greatest problem America faced was neither the war in Afghanistan nor the recession. It was the imminent crisis of the welfare state.
Not only has Obama failed to deal with this crisis, he is pursuing policies that will bankrupt America.
In March, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, led by former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, calculated the total value of the federal government's "unfunded liabilities" as they stood at the end of fiscal 2008. These liabilities include the publicly held portion of the national debt plus the amount the government must pay to cover all the entitlement benefits it has promised to living Americans through Social Security, Medicare and other welfare-state programs minus the tax revenue the government can expect to collect to pay for these entitlements under existing tax law.
The sum of these unfunded liabilities, the foundation discovered, stood at $56.4 trillion. That equals $435,000 for every full-time worker in the United States.
How did Obama respond to this problem?
First, he signed a $787-billion stimulus law. Obama repeatedly claimed this law -- that not one member of Congress read in its entirety -- was urgently needed to create jobs. In fact, most of the new spending it authorized was for longer-term projects, including creating a national system of electronic health records for every person in America in anticipation of Obama's plan to nationalize the health care system.
The Government Accountability Office reported last month that at the end of fiscal 2009, 78 percent of the stimulus money remained unspent. But don't worry: Obama will spend it eventually.
Then, Obama offered his first federal budget. In 2008, President Bush's last year in office, the federal government spent $2.983 trillion. Under Obama's plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office, annual federal spending will climb to $4.982 trillion by 2019. In 2008, the federal deficit was a record $459 billion. Over the next decade, Obama's plan would increase the national debt by a total of $7.137 trillion, running annual deficits averaging $713.7 billion per year.
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