In his Tuesday night news conference, President Obama responded to questions about the colossal impact his budget will have on the federal debt the same way he always does: remind Americans that he inherited the current budget shortfall and that some Republicans critical of his deficit spending advocated in favor of President Bush’s. We’ve heard this again and again, and we get it, Mr. Obama. The previous administration was not particularly conservative when it came to fiscal matters, and recovering big spenders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are not ideal spokesmen for the GOP on this one. I think most Republicans would agree. I certainly do.
But this is 2009, not 2008. Obama is no longer a candidate, he is the president. His insistence on arrogantly brushing aside serious and legitimate questions about his ballooned budget with political potshots is irresponsible at best, and cowardly at worst. The truth of the matter is that under the president’s proposed budget plan the national debt would more than double over the next decade, adding $9.3 trillion in red ink to Washington’s balance sheets by 2019. In fact, Obama’s budget would create more federal debt than that produced by all of his 43 presidential predecessors, combined. No commander in chief in American history has proposed doing this much damage to the national bottom line.
It’s clear that Obama, who seems to embrace liberal European-style economic initiatives, wishes to take this country in a drastically different direction. I’m not a sore loser; he won the election in November and has every right to pursue an agenda of his choosing. But he also owes those of us deeply concerned with his feckless fiscal policies a better explanation than simply pointing to the past. Younger citizens like me who will have to pay for the White House’s proposed short-term spending spree throughout our lifetimes deserve more details and less demagoguery.
Andy Brehm, Minneapolis