“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” President Barack Obama told ABC News in an interview that was broadcast on Wednesday. “In fact,” he said, “for the next ten years, it’s going to be in a sustainable place.”
Although the Congressional Budget Office expects the debt to grow $7 trillion during that time—which is an increase of more than a third.
“We’re not going to balance the budget in ten years,” the president explained because the only way to accomplish that is “on the backs of, you know, the poor, the elderly, students who need student loans, families who’ve got disabled kids.” In other words: the Republican plan which does achieve balance in ten years’ time.
The rhetoric is unfortunately familiar. According to the Democrat, the fiscal crisis simply isn’t and the only reason there isn’t more deficit reduction is Republican intransigence.
Throughout his first four years in office, the president said repeatedly that he was willing to make the “hard choices” necessary to reduce the deficit. Indeed, before he was even elected, Obama expressed alarm in his book The Audacity of Hope (2006) at the “mountain of debt” caused by $300 billion deficits and later described the spendthrift of his Republican predecessor as “unpatriotic.” He went on to preside over deficits in excess of $1 trillion.
Before assuming office, Obama told The Washington Post that the country wasn’t in a position “to kick it any further,” referring to the need for fiscal consolidation.
Yet as president, he spent nearly $800 billion in economic stimulus in his first year and enacted sweeping health insurance reform in the second which could add as much as $500 billion to federal spending this decade (although estimates vary). Read more