Karl Rove Is Right About Obama's Coming Banana Republic Economy

Where's the outrage?

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By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

This morning's Wall Street Journal includes a good op-ed pointing out the discrepancy between the president's statement on Tuesday that his budget moves us from an era of "borrow and spend" to an era of "save and invest." Take a look at this and then I'll tell you who wrote it:

Last fiscal year, the deficit was $459 billion. For this fiscal year, it was $569 billion when Mr. Obama took office. Under his proposals, another $1.276 trillion will be added to the deficit this year, for a total of $1.845 trillion.

The CBO says deficits will fall for three years to $658 billion, still nearly 50% larger than any past deficit. After that, deficits go back up every year, reaching the trillion-dollar a year mark again in nine years. By 2019, the debt would reach 82.4% of GDP, a level not seen since 1947. With astonishing candor, even Peter Orszag, the president's budget director conceded these levels of deficits and debt are "unsustainable."

Federal spending will under Mr. Obama top $4 trillion this year. This translates into 28.5% of GDP—a level exceeded only at the height of World War II. According to the president's plans, spending will thereafter slow for three years, but then grow faster than the economy for the next seven years and beyond. Spending rises by $3.1 trillion from 2009-19, including $911 billion for legislation signed during his first two months in office ...

Mr. Obama is violating every tenet of his promise "to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day." ... Invoking the language of fiscal responsibility, he is engineering prosperity-killing deficits and bankrupting spending.

As much as everyone loves to hate Karl Rove, it's hard to argue with his facts, which are right out of the administration's budget and economic projections. He's got a point—how can the president's budget possibly be called a "save and invest" budget? Running public debt to a level above 80 percent of GNP is on a par with a banana republic. As Bill Bennett would say, Where's the outrage?

The president is holding a "virtual town hall" this morning at 11:30 EDT, with live streaming on the internet. You can click here to submit a question. I'm hoping citizens will ask the tough questions that the president needs to hear—about his massive expansion of the federal government that he says is "inseparable" from the economic recovery. I hope someone asks about the tax burden we're putting on our children and the ramifications for the American economy long after President Obama is out of office. Maybe someone will ask him how he plans to end the era of "borrow and spend."

You can argue for fiscal restraint and still be in favor of long-term investments to grow our economy. You can question the president's spending priorities and still believe in "change." You can stand up for responsibility and still have hope.

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