After all of his seemingly endless campaign stops and harsh rhetoric about the rich not paying "their fair share," it turns out that the president’s proposed tax hikes on “the rich” will only raise enough revenue to run the government for about eight days. But that doesn’t really matter, of course, because it’s all about “fairness.” In other words, if Washington lawmakers are serious about reducing the federal deficit -- as they claim to be -- the real solution is that they must stop borrowing and spending money we don’t have. We cannot carry on like this indefinitely:
The federal government borrowed 46 cents of every dollar it has spent so far in fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, according to the latest data the Congressional Budget Office released Friday.
The government notched a $172 billion deficit in November, and is already nearly $300 billion in the hole through the first two months of fiscal year 2013, underscoring just how deep the government’s budget problems are as lawmakers try to negotiate a year-end deal to avoid a budgetary “fiscal cliff.”
Higher spending on mandatory items such as Social Security, Medicare and interest on the debt led the way in boosting spending compared with the previous year, which also highlights the trouble spots Congress and President Obama are struggling to grapple with.
All sides agreed to discretionary spending cuts and automatic spending cuts last year, but have been unable to agree on ways to control entitlement costs, which are the long-term drivers of deficits and debt.
Even worse, perhaps, President Obama has run up four straight trillion dollar-plus deficits. And now -- surprise -- he’s on target to do it again.
The government is poised to post another $1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2013, which would mark the fifth straight year. Before that, the record was $438 billion, which came in 2008, President George W. Bush’s last full year in office.
Congress and the White House are trying to hash out a long-term fiscal framework that could lead to higher taxes and limits on future spending.
Once again, the United States does not have a revenue problem. That's why I’m almost (but not entirely) persuaded to agree with those who openly suggest that “fiscal cliff” diving wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all. At least then we might be able to begin the process of getting our federal spending under control. Obviously, the status quo is utterly unacceptable, and we need to act now before it’s too late.