Obama’s Dual Deficits
On Monday, President Obama announced to the people of Europe that the United States stands “ready to do our part” to help Europe resolve its debt crisis.
If only he were so ready to do his part to solve the U.S. debt problem.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the report from the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission, the 18 member group the president tasked with finding a path to deficit reduction. But after establishing the commission himself, the president brushed their recommendations aside and continued with his record spending.
Over the last three years, President Obama has proven that while he may talk a good game about debt-reduction, he’s unwilling to truly lead on the issue. He once promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. And then he produced three annual budgets with record deficits.
When the deficit-reduction supercommittee struggled to fulfill its charge last month, did the president step in to offer leadership? No, he simply refused to get involved. It was politically inconvenient, his team warned.
Before that, in the summer debt-ceiling negotiations, the President again had a chance to rein in long-term deficits. But when an agreement was in sight, he reneged and demanded job-killing tax increases.
This failure of leadership has had serious consequences. Our national debt is now accumulating at the fastest rate in modern history—surpassing the $15 trillion mark. In August, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the nation’s credit rating; and, more recently, Fitch Ratings revised the U.S. credit outlook to negative.
That not only threatens the solvency of our government, it endangers the stability of our economy. It makes borrowing more expensive for the government, and it makes investors excessively skittish about the country’s economic future.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a fiscally responsible budget, and their plans would ensure the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare without raising taxes.
Surely the president who campaigned against deficit spending would be interested in such plans, right? You would think. But the truth is President Obama has been a tireless champion of increased spending and an opponent of serious spending restraint.
Next November, Americans will look for a president who is serious about the debt crisis—and not just Europe’s. Voters are tired of the two deficits threatening our country—the budget deficit and the leadership deficit, both directly caused by a hapless White House.
That’s why Republicans will continue to make deficit reduction a key issue throughout the 2012 campaign. And once in the White House, the new Republican president will make sure it remains a priority.