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Spending won't cut dangerous deficit

This Op Ed was published by Politico and can be veiwed online here.

By creating a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, President Barack Obama has acknowledged the new political reality: Voters have had enough of this administration’s attempts to spend the country’s way out of this recession while permanently increasing the size of government.

In the wake of unprecedented taxpayer-funded bailouts and stimulus funds, with little to show for them besides a mountain of debt, the Americans people are insisting that the federal government roll back this spending binge and get its fiscal house in order.

This commission, unfortunately, looks like mere political window dressing, providing cover to the president and the Democratic Congress so they can pursue the same failed course of massive deficit spending and crippling tax hikes.

The first indication of the administration’s lack of seriousness is that the commission has been instructed to exclude interest payments on the national debt in considering what to do about the yearly budget deficit.

The absurdity of this is highlighted when you consider that, by 2014, interest payments will make up more than half the projected deficit. By 2017, they will make up more than two-thirds of the yearly budget shortfall.

This is like thinking that you can pay off your credit card debt by paying only the interest every month or that you can exclude the interest on your monthly mortgage payment when constructing a family budget.

These interest payments on our national debt are not optional. Excluding more than two-thirds of projected deficits from the administration’s stated goal of balancing the budget by 2015 seems intentionally misleading.

Why would the administration suggest such a patently frivolous approach to the most pressing crisis facing us — which threatens U.S. fiscal solvency and the future we leave to our children and grandchildren?

Because, despite the denials, the administration and the Democrats in Congress have contributed mightily to the out-of-control spending that has led to unprecedented debt levels.

In promoting its budget, the White House has repeatedly claimed that the massive debt we face in the coming decade was baked into the cake before Obama “walked in the door.” While this diverts attention from the reckless spending in the Obama budget, the claim does not hold up to scrutiny.

Though Obama said in his State of the Union address that “by the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade,” Congressional Budget Office data flatly contradict this. The CBO’s January 2009 projections showed a 10-year deficit of $3.1 trillion, while Obama’s proposed budget for the same years includes a deficit over that period of $9.1 trillion — nearly three times that projected by the CBO in the month he “walked in the door.”

The problem is not debt per se; it’s spending. And this administration is responsible for most of it.

Now, Congress has passed a so-called jobs bill, which constitutes the third “stimulus” bill of this recession — and just piles the debt higher.

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