If you recall, it was then-presidential candidate Barack Obama who criticized then-President Bush for raising the debt ceiling and for accruing so much national debt. Remember when he said this?
It was irresponsible and unpatriotic for Bush to add $4 trillion to the national debt. But it’s okay for Obama to add nearly $10 trillion. When he does it, it’s okay. He is, after all, still trying to clean up the mess that Bush left behind. It’s all Bush’s fault.
When President Obama signs into law the new two-year budget deal Monday, his action will bring into sharper focus a part of his legacy that he doesn’t like to talk about: He is the $20 trillion man.
Mr. Obama’s spending agreement with Congress will suspend the nation’s debt limit and allow the Treasury to borrow another $1.5 trillion or so by the end of his presidency in 2017. Added to the current total national debt of more than $18.15 trillion, the red ink will likely be crowding the $20 trillion mark right around the time Mr. Obama leaves the White House.
When Mr. Obama took over in January 2009, the total national debt stood at $10.6 trillion. That means the debt will have very nearly doubled during his eight years in office, and there is much more debt ahead with the abandonment of “sequestration” spending caps enacted in 2011.
The debt has gotten so large that it is impossible for it to ever be paid off. Republicans and Democrats alike pay lip service to fiscal responsibility and paying down the national debt, but none of them actually mean it. They don’t care about the national debt.
They might campaign on cutting spending, but once they get into office, all they care about is creating more government agencies and growing the agencies that we already have.
The temptation is too great for most politicians to pass up. Our monetary system is set up so that there’s virtually an infinite supply of money at their fingertips. The Fed is like a credit card with no credit limit. Politicians know that the national debt will never actually be paid off. That was never their intent. But if it helps get them elected, they’ll say anything.