The federal debt is $16 trillion.
That’s a lot of (expletive deleted) money!
Republican House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of lacking the “courage” to work with his political foes to rein in entitlement spending and overhaul the tax code. “This debt is a drain on our economy and a crushing burden on our kids and grandkids, and it’s yet another indication that the president’s policies have made things worse,” Boehner said in a written statement. Boehner also noted “another sad reminder of President Obama’s broken promise to cut the deficit in half.”
The Obama campaign countered that when it comes to the debt, Republicans should be saying, “We built this.”
Barack Obama has presided over a federal debt increase of $5.3 trillion. $5.3 trillion in less than four years. That is not something our country can afford to do.
Democrats are correct. Republicans were silent about the then explosion in the national debt under Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43. But, does that make it okay for Obama to add to the problem and redefine the word “explosion” when it comes to the debt?
If Barack Obama did what George W. Bush did while in office– increase spending on two wars while cutting taxes– Republicans would have been apoplectic. That shell game– that the GOP completely supported– added over $1 trillion to the national debt. That’s back when Republicans trumpeted “Deficits don’t matter!”
Adding W’s trillion in debt meant we had to add interest onto already staggering debt payments. So even though federal spending under Obama has gone up at a much slower rate than under Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43, that fact is somewhat illusory as Obama’s base (George W. Bush’s last budget) had such a high deficit that even a small spending increase added to an already huge problem.
Example: Prior to a divorce, my Uncle Sam’s ex-wife spent $200,000, $220,000, and $250,000 for the years of their marriage in 2006, 2007, and 2008. When Sam was a bachelor, spending was at $100,000 a year. So the spending increase was 100%, 120% and 150% during the years of his marriage. Uncle Sam remarried in 2009 and his new spouse spent $255,000.00. So Sam’s household spending went up and the interest payments on any debt incurred still increased– but the rate of spending went down, as the spending increase is only an increase of only 5% increase between years 2008 and 2009 versus 30% the year prior.
In Bill Clinton’s autobiography, he notes that when he came into office the federal debt was at $4 trillion and that annual interest payments on that money was the third largest item in the federal budget. In 1992, he feared that debt exploding and his first item of business was to cut the federal deficit and the national debt.
We need the same urgency from the White House now. Requiring everyone to have health insurance isn’t going to mean squat when our nation’s debt payments exceed federal revenues. President Obama should have had the same urgency– if not more– over these ballooning deficits as he had with health care and other action items on his list.
Republicans also need to get real if we want to stop our annual deficits and start repaying our national debt. We will need to raise taxes. Even if the federal deficit (the amount of money spent over revenues annually) goes to zero, we still need to find $16 trillion. That’s not going to happen without a tax hike.
So, one very good reason to vote President Obama out of office will be the lack of urgency he has shown toward this ballooning federal debt. Republicans also have a significant amount of blame– but $5.3 trillion of this debt came under Obama’s watch and is his responsibility. And maybe its time that voters keep our presidents accountable: Don’t spend money we don’t have or you won’t get my vote.
Filed under: National Politics