The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell has the story of what can only be described as an alarming admission of failure by the Obama administration – which, to no surprise, was disclosed late Friday afternoon when nobody was watching.
It is established practice in Washington that if you have to release bad news, it is best to do it on a Friday … the later in the day the better. So not only did the White House schedule the publication of the “Mid-Session Budget Review” for last Friday, but they then released it three hours late to ensure that as few reporters as possible were left in the nation’s capital to cover it. But Heritage’s dedicated budget team patiently waited the Obama administration out, and their analysis shows that this year’s mid-session review is nothing short of a complete admission of failure of the White House’s economic policies.
When President Obama sold his $862 billion economic stimulus to the American people, he promised that, if enacted, it would prevent unemployment from ever rising above 8%. With unemployment currently at 9.5%, the American people are now well aware that the President’s stimulus has been a complete failure. But Friday’s report was the first time this Administration was forced to admit just how long Americans will have to suffer for their failed economic policies. According to Friday’s report, the Obama administration now projects that unemployment will average 9% throughout all of next year and 8.1% throughout 2012.
And if that news wasn’t bad enough, the report pegs this year’s budget deficit at $1.471 trillion, or 10% of the entire U.S. economy. In nominal dollars, it’s the largest deficit in American history; and as a percentage of the economy, it’s the largest deficit since World War II. To pay for that $1.471 trillion hole, our government will borrow 41 cents of every dollar it spends. And the Obama Administration concedes that these large deficits are here to stay. It projects another $1.42 trillion deficit in 2011, which is $150 billion worse than previously predicted. Looking ahead, the President’s budget includes deficits that never fall below $698 billion and leaves our children with $18.5 trillion in debt by 2020. And all this assumes the economy will grow 4% from 2012-2014. The only times the economy performed that well in the past thirty years was from 1997-2000 and from 1983-1985.
None of this is particularly news, of course, as responsible observers have known for quite some time that federal spending is an asteroid hurtling toward our economy. It’s due to crash into us sometime this decade. But for the Obama administration to admit this is somewhat significant. An eight percent unemployment rate in 2012, which one might see as a rather optimistic figure, will largely insure that the president is beaten badly in that year’s elections.
But for this year’s election cycle, the number the Republicans should focus on is that 41 percent figure. When two-fifths of all of federal spending is financed by the Saudis and the Chinese and other such people, it isn’t long before American sovereignty is called into question.
Numbers like this will virtually assure John Boehner of the House speakership. They will also largely insure large GOP pickups in Senate races this fall, though getting to 10 Senate seats gained for a majority still looks difficult. The real question then becomes – does the Republican leadership have the intestinal fortitude not just to slow the growth of government, but to actually roll it back? Can Boehner and his team envision doing away with the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Homeland Security and perhaps Health and Human Services? Will they cut loose folks under 50 from Social Security? Will they devolve power to state governments so that entitlement programs can be more effectively managed closer to the ground?
The idea that conservatives can get by with just saying “No” to further growth in government has passed. Such an idea would imply that the status quo is acceptable. It is not. It’s time for a very significant rollback in both federal spending and federal involvement in American life.
Boehner had better be ready for a high-stakes game in January.