by Gerren McHam, Heritage Foundation, October 21, 2013
President Obama boasted last week that he had signed legislation to lift “the twin threats” to our economy of government shutdown and default. But what was done to fix the problem of growing debt that leads Washington to repeatedly raise the debt ceiling?
Nothing. In fact, by Friday, the U.S. debt had rocketed past $17 trillion.
What does this mean?
- At $17 trillion, this number has passed total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), the measure of all that is produced in the economy.
- Since Obama took office, the national debt has increased from about $10.6 trillion to more than $17 trillion—a 60 percent increase.
How quickly Obama changed his tune when he transitioned from Senator to President. Here’s what he said just a few years ago:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. (Senator Barack Obama, March 16, 2006)
And his partner in debt, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), argued mightily against what he now champions—when a different Administration was in office.
Today the Senate is considering a bill to increase the Nation’s debt by $781 billion. If adopted, it would be the fourth such increase in the 5 years this administration has been in office. I will be opposing this latest request, and I hope that people on both sides of the aisle will do the same. (Senator Harry Reid, March 16, 2006)
History shows us that those in power will always face the temptation of funding their pet projects and initiatives. Meanwhile, entitlement spending—the key driver of spending and debt—remains unaddressed.
To fix these problems, a responsible constituency needs to consistently hold elected representatives accountable and limit their spending.
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