The Deficit That Obama Didn't Quite Inherit But Will Almost Certainly Vastly Expand


Last night, President Barack Obama underscored that, despite being in the Senate for the past few years and his party being in charge of Congress since 2006, he's just mopping up for the bungler in chief who preceded him. I yield to no ink-stained wretch in my vast and bottomless dislike of George W. Bush but let's hold Obama's feet to the fire here: He has consistently pledged to, you know, stop spending right after well, you know, he and Congress stop spending.

Seriously, we're really going to knuckle down and cut some "eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs" costing $2 trillion over the next decade. Spoiler alert: That comes to a whopping 5 percent or so of baseline projected spending over the next decade. Break out the champagne, 'cause happy days are here again!

If Obama is serious about restoring trust and confidence in the government's ability to live within its gargantuan means (and he should be), he should start by rewriting the $410 billion Omnibus Spending Bill that the Democrats have just dropped like a big, wet, steaming, stinking pile of…pork barbecue.

The "omnibus" spending package unveiled today by House Democrats would combine nine annual appropriations bills left over from last year that are needed to fund programs such as NASA and the national parks through September, the end of the fiscal year. Total spending on the programs would grow by $32 billion, or about 8.5 percent, from last year.

Democrats postponed work on the appropriations bills last year after they were unable to reach an agreement with former President George W. Bush on how much to spend on domestic programs. Bush had demanded lawmakers freeze most domestic spending.

Sure, the bill, which will fund expenditures for the rest of this fiscal year is about five months late and it should have been properly been executed under King George II, but it wasn't. It's in Obama's lap. It's on his watch.

Among other things, the bill would loosen restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba (that's good, but what took you so freaking long?), screw over Mexican trucks (because they are foreign trucks, taking American trucks' jobs, and besides, they don't speaka da English!), and jack up all sorts of mostly useless regulatory regimes. But mostly, it would jack up spending (see above). That's all on top of the record-breaking FY2009 deficit projections that have already been announced (and revised upwards, downwards, sideways).

Obama has gotten his (or more precisely, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi's) stimulus bill. He's getting the ability to spend tons of dough on rewriting mortgages (because he doesn't have enough to do). He's reinvigorated the war in Afghanistan with an open-ended commitment there.

And he really, really cares about not leaving our kids burdened with debt. If he's serious at all about cutting the federal deficit in half by the time he leaves office (or wins re-election to a second term!), he's got a perfect opportunity to just say no right now. On his watch.