The federal government is estimated to run a 2009 budget deficit of $1.845 trillion. While it is true that President George W. Bush handed President Barack Obama a $1,186 billion deficit for the year, Obama has only added to that total to the tune of $659 billion. Worse, President Obama’s budget shows average deficits of $855 billion over the next decade which would double the publicly held national debt by 2019. And that does not even count Obama’s budget busting health care spending. But don’t worry; the Obama Justice Department just figured out that paper has two sides: just think of the taxpayer savings from DOJ’s proposed double-sided photocopying!
The Justice Department’s announcement yesterday that it can save $573,000 through fiscal 2010 by setting up its printers and copiers to use both sides of the paper was part of the Obama administration’s roll out of $102 million in “spending cuts” they announced in April this year. Other Obama deficit savers include: The Forest Service will no longer repaint its new, white vehicles green immediately upon purchase; The Office of Thrift Supervision identified unused phone lines costing $320,000; and both Homeland Security and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will start getting their news free online, rather than renew their newspaper subscriptions. In total, Obama’s $102 million in spending cuts will help cut the deficit by .006%. Problem solved!
Unfortunately runaway government spending has proved to be a bi-partisan problem in Washington as The Heritage Foundation’s 2009 Federal Spending by the Numbers shows. Since 2001, Anti-poverty spending has surged by 57%, K–12 education spending by 169%, and Medicare, thanks largely to the expensive Medicare drug benefit, by 57%.
But finding himself in a $1.186 trillion hole, President Obama has refused to stop digging. Washington will spend $33,932 per household in 2009—$8,000 per household more than last year. While much of this spending is a temporary result of the recession and financial crisis, President Obama’s 2010 budget would replace this temporary spending with permanent new programs. Consequently, by 2019—a time of assumed peace and prosperity—Washington would still spend $33,000 per household (adjusted for inflation), essentially making permanent this year’s $8,000 per household spending hike. These numbers do not even include the cost of the President’s health plan. These deficits would not only raise interest rates, they would also nearly quintuple the net interest costs of the national debt over the next decade.
Americans want to go in another direction. Polling by Gallup, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and NBC News, all show that the American people do not approve of President’s Obama’s handling of the federal deficit. There is an alternative. Heritage fellow Brian Riedl explains:
In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent $21,000 per household (adjusted for inflation). Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes. Alternatively, returning to the $25,000 per household level (adjusted for inflation) that Washington spent before the current recession would likely balance the budget by 2019 without any tax hikes.