Cliff Notes: The Blind Side

Cliff Notes: The Blind Side

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Cliff Notes: The Blind Side

The Treasury Department announced yesterday we’re on track for our fifth straight trillion dollar annual deficit. The report also showed that last month’s deficit was 25 percent higher than our deficit from November 2011. What’s the biggest contributing factor to those huge deficits? According to President Obama, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a host of experts, entitlements are driving the deficits. With the heavy focus on taxes during the fiscal cliff debate, it’s understandable that this fact has been overlooked. In fact, some in Congress have gone so far as to say entitlements are off the table. Is it any wonder our spending and deficits have exploded when Washington is turning a blind eye to the root of the problem?

ENTITLEMENTS DRIVING RECORD DEFICITS, SO LET’S IGNORE ENTITLEMENTS

U.S. On Track For Record Fifth Straight Trillion Dollar Annual Deficit:

Fifth Consecutive Trillion Dollar Deficit Projected. “The U.S. federal government’s budget deficit widened in November compared to October, a sign that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit.” (“Monthly US Budget Deficit Reaches $172B In November, Up 25 Percent From A Year Ago,” The Associated Press, 12/12/12)

  • Monthly Deficit Up Tens Of Billions From Last Month. “The budget gap rose to $172 billion in November, up from $120 billion in October, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. (“Monthly US Budget Deficit Reaches $172B In November, Up 25 Percent From A Year Ago,” The Associated Press, 12/12/12)
  • “The November Deficit Was Also 25 Percent Higher Than The Same Month Last Year.” (“Monthly US Budget Deficit Reaches $172B In November, Up 25 Percent From A Year Ago,” The Associated Press, 12/12/12)

Five Straight Trillion Dollar Deficits A First. “Obama’s presidency has coincided with four straight $1 trillion-plus deficits the first in history and a record he had to vigorously defend during his re-election campaign. He had promised in February 2009 to cut the deficit in half by the end of this first term.” (“Monthly US Budget Deficit Reaches $172B In November, Up 25 Percent From A Year Ago,” The Associated Press, 12/12/12)

Broad Agreement That Entitlements Are Driving Deficits:  

President Obama: “I believe that we have to continue to take a serious look at how we reform our entitlements, because health care costs continue to be the biggest driver of our deficits.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President At A News Conference, The White House, 11/14/12)

“[Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner Targeted Entitlement Programs As The Key To Reducing The National Debt While Insisting That Social Security Benefits Remain Protected.” (“Geithner: Entitlement Programs Key To Cutting Deficit,” ABCNews.com, 2/15/11)

Former Sen. Alan Simpson: “I mean, the bizarre thing, not touching the entitlements. The entitlements are the engine on the train driving us to the cliff. They were on automatic pilot.” (Alan Simpson, CBS’s Face The Nation, 12/9/12)

Former Clinton Chief Of Staff Erskine Bowles: “First of all, most important thing is if we’re going to raise revenue and if we’re going to raise it in any form, then we darn well better cut spending because spending is the biggest part of this problem, and the biggest part of that problem is the fact that health care is growing at a faster rate than GDP.” (Erskine Bowles, CBS’s Face The Nation, 12/9/12)

According To The Congressional Budget Office, “Entitlement Programs Are The Biggest Driver Of The Long- Term Debt.” (Heidi Przybyla, “Democrats Hint at Entitlement Program Cuts in U.S. Budget,” Bloomberg, 12/7/12)

The Washington Post: “Entitlement Reform Must Be On The Table” (Editorial, “Entitlement Reform Must Be On The Table,” The Washington Post, 11/14/12)

USA Today: “Cut Entitlements To Control Debt” (Editorial, “Cut Entitlements To Control Debt,” USA Today, 11/14/12)

So Entitlements Are Off The Table. Wait, What?

Congressional Democrats “Oppose Almost All Cuts” To Entitlements. “Liberals are intensely — and successfully — pressing the White House to take Medicaid off the table in deficit-reduction talks. … Congressional Democrats oppose almost all cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but they’re taking an especially hard line against Medicaid cuts, including proposals President Obama has supported in the past.” (Sam Baker, “Liberals: Leave Medicaid Out Of Talks,” The Hill, 12/12/12)

Some Are “Seeking To Shield Entitlement Programs” From Reform. “Democrats are increasing their demands on what should be in a deficit deal, seeking to shield entitlement programs and insisting on raising the nation’s debt ceiling this year. In the wake of President Obama’s reelection and Democratic gains in Congress, party leaders are growing bolder as the Dec. 31 deadline for extending the Bush-era tax rates and stopping automatic spending cuts approaches.” (Alexander Bolton, “Dems Raise Their Asking Price For A Deal,” The Hill, 11/27/12)

  • “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the idea of raising Medicare’s eligibility age as part of a year-end deal to reduce the deficit.” (Elise Viebeck, Pelosi: Keep the Medicare age where it is,” The Hill, 12/11/12)
  • But The White House And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Have Indicated That They Won’t Consider Cuts To Social Security As Part Of A Deal.” (Robert Schroeder, “Democrats Must Move On Entitlements In Cliff Deal, Bowles Says,” MarketWatch, 11/29/12)
  • Moreover, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Who Is Close To Obama, Said On Tuesday That A Cliff Deal Shouldn’t Touch Medicare, Medicaid Or Social Security.” (Robert Schroeder, “Democrats Must Move On Entitlements In Cliff Deal, Bowles Says,” MarketWatch, 11/29/12)

Spending Cuts Have Been “Barely Discussed.” “In public statements since [Obama’s] re-election, he has barely discussed how he would pare back federal spending, focusing instead on the aspect of his plan that plays to his liberal base and involves all gain and no pain for 98 percent of taxpayers.” (Peter Baker, “Obama Tilts Tax Debate Away From Spending Cuts,” New York Times, 11/29/12)