Guest post from The Heritage Foundation
It is established practice in Washington that if you have to release bad news, it is best to do it on a Friday … the later in the day the better. So not only did the White House schedule the publication of the “Mid-Session Budget Review” for last Friday, but they then released it three hours late to ensure that as few reporters as possible were left in the nation’s capital to cover it. But Heritage’s dedicated budget team patiently waited the Obama administration out, and their analysis shows that this year’s mid-session review is nothing short of a complete admission of failure of the White House’s economic policies.
When President Obama sold his $862 billion economic stimulus to the American people, he promised that, if enacted, it would prevent unemployment from ever rising above 8%. With unemployment currently at 9.5%, the American people are now well aware that the President’s stimulus has been a complete failure. But Friday’s report was the first time this Administration was forced to admit just how long Americans will have to suffer for their failed economic policies. According to Friday’s report, the Obama administration now projects that unemployment will average 9% throughout all of next year and 8.1% throughout 2012.
And if that news wasn’t bad enough, the report pegs this year’s budget deficit at $1.471 trillion, or 10% of the entire U.S. economy. In nominal dollars, it’s the largest deficit in American history; and as a percentage of the economy, it’s the largest deficit since World War II. To pay for that $1.471 trillion hole, our government will borrow 41 cents of every dollar it spends. And the Obama Administration concedes that these large deficits are here to stay. It projects another $1.42 trillion deficit in 2011, which is $150 billion worse than previously predicted. Looking ahead, the President’s budget includes deficits that never fall below $698 billion and leaves our children with $18.5 trillion in debt by 2020. And all this assumes the economy will grow 4% from 2012-2014. The only times the economy performed that well in the past thirty years was from 1997-2000 and from 1983-1985.
These future deficits are driven almost exclusively by rising spending. As Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Riedl noted earlier this year: “Before the recession, federal spending totaled $24,000 per U.S. household. President Obama would hike it to $36,000 per household by 2020 — an inflation-adjusted $12,000-per-household expansion of government.” There is a way out of this deficit nightmare: stop spending. If the federal government managed to return to the per-household spending level of the Reagan administration, the budget would be balanced by 2012 without any tax hikes. Too ambitious? Just returning to the per-household spending levels that existed before the current recession would balance the budget by 2019.
But that is not the route this President wants to take. President Obama wants to close the gap between what our government spends and what it takes in by raising taxes by $3 trillion. His Treasury secretary was on television yesterday claiming this massive tax tsunami would have no effect on economic growth. After last Friday’s Mid-Session Budget Review exposed the failure of this Administration’s economic stimulus claims, does anybody believe anything this Administration says anymore?