White House Budget Blowout

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BY STEPHEN MOORE – Republicans are pointing to a new Congressional Budget Office report released late on Friday which seems to confirm that President Obama is AWOL on the budget crisis. The new analysis finds that Mr. Obama’s budget actually increases the deficit by $26 billion this year to a level of red ink only surpassed by his own record in 2009. His budget would also add more than $80 billion to the deficit in 2012. “This confirms that the White House isn’t serious about the budget,” Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee tells us. “There are no cuts and his budget makes the problem worse.”


The kernel of good news is that the CBO is now projecting a $1.4 trillion budget for this year, down from an earlier White House prediction of $1.6 trillion. Revenues are creeping up. But that may be the only positive in a report which otherwise highlights the need for big budget reforms. Over the next decade the president’s fiscal plan would double the national debt to $20.8 trillion in 2021 from $10.4 trillion this year. The average level of federal spending would remain stuck at 23.5% of GDP, up from an average of under 21% since 1970.

At least a few people in the White House concede this rising tide of red ink is problematic. At a recent hearing, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner predicted to Congress that the CBO “will show higher deficits than we predict.” Then he added, “They will show deficits that are unsustainable over time.”

In more bad news for the administration, the budget office also sees Obamacare costing more than originally anticipated, estimating the 10-year cost at $1.45 trillion. That’s an upward cost revision of about $40 billion in just 12 months. According to the Joint Economic Committee, back when Mr. Obama was running for President in 2008, he promised his health-care overhaul would cost no more than $65 billion a year “when fully phased in.” Now we hear the cost is going to be more than three times that much. The new health-care spending is on top of the deluge of Medicare spending, which will nearly double over the next decade, exhausting the Medicare Part A trust fund by 2020.

Senator Sessions believes these numbers will bolster the GOP case for big and bold cuts in the budget as they square off with the President in the fiscal fight in the weeks ahead. His budget was “detached from reality,” Mr. Sessions notes. He’s particularly amused by the White House claim that the president’s fiscal plan makes us “live within our means,” and will help us “pay down the debt.” Perhaps so, but he never specified what century that would happen in.