President Obama's Broken Deficit Promises


The other day I noted that in the 2008 campaign, President Obama repeatedly criticized Republicans for running sky high deficits, and letting total federal debt hit $10 trillion. Obama didn't just attack his GOP rival and the Bush administration for their poor budgeting.

As Philip Klein of The Washington Examiner points out, he also made specific promises of his own, pledging "to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office" at a "fiscal responsibility summit" (LOL!) shortly after taking office in 2009.

Obama followed up that promise with assurances in 2010 and 2011 that his administration was on the path to meeting its deficit reduction goals. "When I took office, I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term," he said in February 2011. "Our budget meets that pledge and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade." 

Needless to say, the actual path the budget took was not the one Obama promised it was on. 

Today, the Congressional Budget Office released its final monthly budget report for the 2012 fiscal year. For the fourth straight year, the annual budget deficit ran over $1 trillion dollars. At $1.09 trillion, it was equal to about 7 percent of the country's total economic output, and it was somewhat smaller than Obama's previous deficits, it was otherwise larger than any year since 1947. Not quite a personal best, in other words, but still a historic tally. 

And obviously not even close to the 50 percent reduction in the annual deficit that Obama promised. As Klein points out, Obama inhereted a $1.186 trillion deficit. The president managed to reduce that total by about 8 percent. 

When Obama made his pledge, he warned that it would not be easy. "It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we've long neglected," he said. "But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay — and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control." Instead, Obama refused to take responsibility for making those tough decisions.