Something strange is going on. Late last week President Obama made an official request for Congress to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion. But didn’t we just do that? It just seems like yesterday that Washington was abuzz over the debate about whether to increase the debt ceiling. And unless my memory fails me a $900 billion increase to the debt limit was granted.
Surely, Washington hasn’t blown through nearly $1 trillion already. And we’re still two weeks away from Groundhog Day, so unless there’s a Bill Murray sequel about the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday that I missed, I’ll count out being stuck in a time loop.
Oh that’s right, this is Obama and the Democrats we’re talking about. Give them a few days and a blank check and they’ll have not only attempted to buy Antarctica, but will have unionized the penguins and given free health care to the seals. Yes, this is the party that makes Nicolas Cage look like a financial whiz (and this is a guy who bought not one, but two castles, not to mention a dinosaur skull for no apparent reason).
So here’s President Obama, back after having spent $900 billion in just five short months, and asking for more. Granted, the request is little more than a formality, a foregone conclusion that was folded in to the larger debt limit deal in August.
Under the package, President Obama was able to get a $900 billion immediate increase to the debt limit. The second tranche, worth as much as $1.5 billion that was intended to carry him through the election, could only happen if the Deficit Supercommittee agreed to the equivalent amount of cuts. Yea, we all know how that went over. About as well as a hygiene tutorial at an OWS camp.
According to the deal, the failure of the Supercommittee triggered automatic spending cuts – about half of which would come from the military and about half from Medicare providers. But it also meant that Obama can “only” get $1.2 trillion. Aw, poor guy.
Which brings us to where we are now, namely, screwed. OK not screwed (at least not yet), but not in the best of financial shape. After all, our debt, has surpassed $15.2 trillion – larger than our entire economy. And you know things are bad when not even the Liberal Ledger, er, I mean, New York Times, can sweep Obama’s spending habits under the rug.
“The government’s need for more borrowing results from the fact that it spends far more than it raises in revenue; it makes up the difference by borrowing 36 cents of every dollar it spends. In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the government spend $3.6 trillion and collected $2.3 trillion.”
. . . Since President Obama took office, the debt has shot up 42 percent, to the current level of $15.1 trillion. Of that amount, $10.4 trillion is borrowed from the public, and $4.7 trillion consists of special-issue Treasury securities held by Social Security and other govenrment trust funds. Debt held by the public, considered by many economists to be the more significant indicator, is 65 percent higher now than in January 2009.”
When it comes to Obama and his penchant for spending there just isn’t many nice things you can say. This is a president who has the three largest deficits in U.S. history (FY 2009: $1.43 trillion, FY 2011: $1.29 trillion, FY 2010: $1.298 trillion). So if deficits were an olympic sport, Obama would take home the gold, silver, and bronze all by himself.
And those deficits are adding up fast. To provide a sense of just how large $15 trillion is consider this – in 2010 the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced $974 million worth of currency. At that rate it would take 15,400 years to print $15 trillion – roughly around the same time we can expect Klingon to overtake English as our national language and Congress is desperately trying to rewrite the 2nd Amendment to include phasers. That is to say, never.
So yes, if it feels like we just raised the debt ceiling, it’s because we did. And unless Congress takes steps to slow the rate of spending, we’ll be right back in this same predicament in just a few months. So let’s try something that will feel really strange – let’s stop making debt limit increases seem mundane and let’s actually try and spend less.