Jeffrey H. Anderson is a writer for The Weekly Standard.
Senior White House advisor David Plouffe — President Obama's campaign manager in 2008 — told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that, when it comes to dealing with our colossal deficits and debt, "the right approach is the president's approach." That approach, Plouffe added, "gets our deficit on a very sustainable path." One wonders: Has Plouffe seen a copy of the president's budget?
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has. It says that deficit spending under Obama's budget would be $488 billion in five years (in 2017), $510 billion in six years (2018), $602 billion in seven years (2019), $638 billion in eight years (2020), $678 billion in nine years (2021), and $728 billion in ten years (2022, the last year of his budget). In other words, over the latter half of the president's budget, our deficit would get higher every year. Does that sound like a "very sustainable path"?
Of course, our economy would grow during that period. Surely, therefore, deficit spending under Obama's budget would decline at least as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), right? Nope. The CBO says that deficit spending under Obama's budget would be 2.5 percent of GDP in 2017, 2.5 percent of GDP in 2018, 2.8 percent of GDP in 2019, 2.8 percent of GDP in 2020, 2.9 percent of GDP in 2021, and 3.0 percent of GDP in 2022. In other words, over the latter half of the president's budget, our deficit would get higher every year as a percentage of GDP. Does that sound like a "very sustainable path"?
Well, at least Obama's budget would be an improvement over the course we're already on, right? Not even close. The CBO says that, in 2022, the course we're on would yield a deficit of $303 billion and 1.2 percent of GDP. Under Obama's budget, the deficit would be 2.4 times as high — on both counts. For a budget that would improve upon our current course over the latter half of the 10-year budgetary window, see Paul Ryan's.
Plouffe and the rest of the Obama administration don't yet seem to have grasped the simple fact that, if our deficit spending increases from year to year — and especially if it increases even faster than the size of our economy — that won't reduce our debt, but will increase it. It won't make our situation better, but worse. It isn't sustainable, but unsustainable.
Aren't you glad these folks want to take control of your health care?