Terry Jeffrey

The day after the Boehner-Obama CR deal passed the House, the Congressional Budget Office published its own updated analysis of Obama's budget proposal. It estimated a fiscal 2011 deficit of $1.399 trillion -- significantly lower than OMB's estimate of $1.645119 trillion.

Assuming again that federal borrowing will roughly equal federal deficit spending, a fiscal 2011 deficit of $1.399 trillion would have required the Treasury to borrow approximately another $691.219 billion above the $707.781 billion it had already borrowed in fiscal 2011 as of the close of business on April 14.

The CBO said in its report estimating a $1.399 trillion 2011 deficit that it had not included in its calculations the recent continuing resolutions to fund the government.

So, subtract the $78.3 billion in cuts included in the Boehner-Obama CR deal from the $691.219 billion in additional borrowing needed after April 14 to cover a $1.399 trillion deficit, and you get $612.919 billion.

Subtract from that $612.919 billion the $75.379 billion in room still left under the debt limit as of April 14, and that leaves $537.54 billion.

Thus, even using CBO's more optimistic deficit estimate, it would have been reasonable to assume that the Boehner-Obama CR deal was going to require lifting the debt limit by approximately half a trillion dollars just to carry the government through Sept. 30.

What did Boehner get in return for this?

He did not insist that the April CR include language prohibiting funding for implementing of Obamacare, or defunding Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider) or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which subsidizes liberal media). Nor did he extract any commitment from the president to reform entitlement programs -- including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- that are the primary forces driving the nation toward bankruptcy.

In the recent debt-limit negotiations, Boehner could have said to Obama: We will increase the debt limit just enough to cover the fiscal 2011 spending we agreed to in April's CR. But for fiscal 2012 we will not agree to business as usual on government spending and debt. The Republican-controlled House will pass a series of appropriations for fiscal 2012 that significantly reform government spending and reduce government. We will be happy to debate them with you in September.

Instead, Boehner agreed to increase the debt limit by $2.4 trillion -- the largest debt limit increase in history.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who supported Boehner's deal, predicts the $2.4 trillion increase will last 18 months -- enough to get past next November's elections. Now do this math: $2.4 trillion over 18 months equals $133.33 billion in new debt per month or $1.596 trillion in a year.

A speaker who cuts a debt-limit deal like that is not planning to fight over the 2012 appropriations bills. He is planning to cut another deal.

 


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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