Spending: Remember when President Obama promised he'd cut the deficit in half in his first term? Well, the results are in, and red ink will once again top $1 trillion. Calling this an epic failure isn't enough.
In his first budget message to the country, Obama promised to make the "tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline, cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office, and put our nation on sound fiscal footing." His plan projected a deficit of $557 billion this year, and $512 billion next year.
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office showed how far Obama has missed that target. It reported that the deficit will top $1.1 trillion this year, and assuming Congress keeps most of the Bush tax cuts in place (which Obama wants), the deficit will be close to, if not more than, $1 trillion next year.
It gets even worse when you look at the deficit as a share of the economy. Obama's first budget promised the deficit would account for just 3.4% of GDP by 2012. Actual result: 7.3%. He said the deficit next year would be just 2.9% of GDP. Now the CBO figures it will be more like 6%.
Obama blames everyone but himself for his failures. And sure enough, he's been claiming that most of the nation's current deficit problems are the fault of President Bush's tax cuts, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the new Medicare drug benefit.
"We ran two wars on a credit card. We went from surplus to deficit," he bemoaned at a recent campaign event. "So when I walked into office we already had a $1 trillion deficit." The truth is, Obama has only himself to blame for the country's fiscal quagmire.
First, the economy has vastly underperformed its potential, thanks to growth-suffocating regulations, misguided industrial policy, the looming threat of Obama-Care and the constant push to raise taxes in the most productive parts of the economy.
In fact, growth has come in well below every one of Obama's own forecasts. When he came into office, Obama projected 2011 growth would be 4%. The next year, he downgraded that to 3.8%, and then 2.7% the year after. Even that was too optimistic, since actual growth in 2011 was a meager 1.8%.