Debt Wish: The Denial

Debt Wish: The Denial

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“We Don’t Have a Spending Problem.” – President Obama (Editorial: Stephen Moore, “The Education of John Boehner,” Wall Street Journal, 1/6/13)

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. Our deficit is on pace to top $1 trillion for the fifth straight year. Washington hasn’t produced a budget in more than a thousand days. We’re about to blow through another debt ceiling. Yet, according to our current administration, “We don’t have a spending problem.”

Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, issued the following statement:

“We’re $16.4 trillion in debt, heading towards our fifth straight year of trillion dollar deficits, and President Obama doesn’t think we have a spending problem?  Passing emergency legislation on New Year’s Day to avert a major economic crisis is a problem.  Credit rating agencies threatening to downgrade our economy if we don’t address our debt is a problem.  Putting our children $5.8 trillion deeper in debt in just four years is a problem.  President Obama recognized spending was a problem before he took office, and now he needs to take responsibility for making it worse.”

MISSED DEADLINES, RECORD DEFICITS AND NO END IN SIGHT

CBO: First-Quarter Deficit Reaches $293 Billion. “The federal government ran up a $293 billion deficit in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, which ended Dec. 31, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Tuesday. … At this pace, the deficit would be on pace to top $1 trillion for the fifth-straight year in 2013.” (Erik Wasson, “First-Quarter Deficit Was $293 Billion, CBO Says,” The Hill, 1/8/13)

Washington’s Budget Running Late. “The Obama administration’s fiscal 2014 budget is widely expected to arrive late on Capitol Hill, possibly not until sometime in March, primarily as a result of uncertainty created by fiscal cliff negotiations. … By law, the spending proposal is due the first Monday in February, which will be Feb. 4.” (Paul Krawzak, “Obama’s Budget Running Late,” Roll Call, 1/8/13)

Debt Ceiling Could Hit As Early As February. “’Based on financial data from Treasury, we estimate that the government will be unable to pay all of its bills as early as February 15, also known as the X Date,’ said Steve Bell, senior director of the Economic Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, in a statement. ‘Our numbers show that we have less time to solve this problem than many realize.’” (Katie Glueck, “Report: Debt Ceiling ‘X Date’ Feb. 15,” POLITICO, 1/8/13)

Under Obama, The National Debt Has Increased By $5.8 Trillion, An Increase Of 55 Percent. (US Department Of The Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 1/4/13)

In 2008, Obama Said Adding $4 Trillion To The National Debt Was ‘Irresponsible’ And ‘Unpatriotic.’ “… In 2008, Obama said, ‘Number 43 added four trillion dollars [to the national debt] by his lonesome … that’s irresponsible, that’s unpatriotic.’ Obama, of course, has been adding to the debt at double the rate of his predecessor.” (Kyle Smith, “Obama’s Call For Economic Patriotism is as Convincing as New Coke,” Forbes, 9/27/12)

Projected To Reach $21 Trillion By 2017. (Table 7.1 – Federal Debt at the End of Year: 1940-2017)

OTHER LAWMAKERS DISAGREE, POINT OUT “SPENDING IS THE BIGGEST PART OF THIS PROBLEM”

Former Clinton Chief Of Staff Erskine Bowles: “…We Darn Well Better Cut Spending.” “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 Nation12/9/12)

Bill Clinton: “We’ve Got To Deal With This Big, Long-Term Debt Problem, Or It Will Deal With Us.” (“Transcript of Bill Clinton’s Speech to the Democratic National Convention,” New York Times9/5/12)

“[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)

Hillary Clinton: Debt Is “Message Of Weakness Internationally.” “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waded into the nation’s fiscal debate Wednesday, calling the expected $1.3 trillion U.S. deficit a ‘message of weakness internationally.’ ‘It poses a national security threat in two ways: it undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable…'” (“Clinton Says deficit is a national security threat,” The Hill, 9/8/10)

“… Former Obama Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee And Peter Orszag Have Also Argued That Spending Cuts And Entitlement Reform Must Be Part Of Any Meaningful Budget Deal.” (Andrew Stiles, “Democrats Ready to March Off the Cliff,” Washington Free Beacon12/11/12)

Bowles: Forget Taxes, Cut Spending. “Even if you raise the top rates back to the Clinton rates, that only creates about $400 billion over 10 years. That’s $40 billion a year. We have a trillion dollar a year deficit. That alone won’t solve the problem. We have to cut spending.” (Erskine Bowles, CBS’s Face the Nation, 12/9/12)

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde: “… [A]n agreement that would only extend tax cuts for the middle class without addressing spending or entitlements would be insufficient to reassure the rest of the world, [International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde] said.” (Sandrine Rastello, “IMF’s Lagarde Says U.S. Fiscal Agreement Should Be Comprehensive,” Bloomberg, 12/9/12)

 AMERICANS RECOGNIZE OUR GOVERNMENT HAS A SPENDING PROBLEM

“Three In Four Voters Want To ‘Cut Government Spending Across The Board’ …” (James Hohmann, “Battleground Poll: Hike Taxes on the Rich,” POLITICO, 12/9/12)

Gallup Post-Election Polling Finds 72% Of Americans Want “Major Cuts To Federal Spending.” (Lydia Saad, “Economy, Entitlements, Iran Americans’ Top Priorities, Gallup, 11/15/12)

“By An Overwhelming Margin, Voters Throughout The Country Believe That The Cause Of The Federal Debt Comes From Government Spending Being Too High (79%) Rather Than Taxes Being Too Low (15%).” (The Tarrance Group, “Findings From National Survey,” Memo To Public Notice, 10/28/12)