Just two days ago, President Obama emphatically stated that cutting the debt was crucial to the future (see video). Yesterday, we went out on a limb and said President Obama’s commitment was unrealistic considering the fiscal past and present of the U.S. government’s spending. It only took a single day for us to be proven correct.
Under the pressure of a “mountain of debt,” it seemed as if Obama realized the weight that the national debt presses upon the United States and the world. It seemed as if he might make a credible promise to reduce the burden on future generations.
Now, the final critical step in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt. We are living with a legacy of deficit spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets. But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.
But today, almost as if to mock the p\President’s words, the Congressional Budget Office (the CBO)—the audit, investigation, and evaluation arm of the U.S. government—released its estimates of the 2011 budget. The results are stunning.
“The deficits of $1.4 trillion in 2009 and $1.3 trillion in 2010 are, when measured as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), the largest since 1945—representing 10.0 percent and 8.9 percent of the nation’s output, respectively. For 2011, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that if current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget will show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP.”
So even despite a heartfelt commitment from the CEO and Commander-in-Chief of the United States, we will again set a dubious record—the largest nominal budget deficit in the history of the world.