CBO: Obama budget deepens debt by $3.5 trillion

A new budget by President Obama would pile on another $3.5 trillion in debt over the course of the next ten years. This would cause the government's trust funds to run out of money by 2020. House Republicans are now pushing to write their very own budget that would address costs of major programs.

By Stephen Dinan
Friday, March 16, 2012
Washington Times

President Obama’s budget would pile up an additional $3.5 trillion in debt over the next 10 years and shows the government’s trust funds running out of money in 2020, Congress’s official non-partisan scorekeeper said Friday.

In 2012 alone Mr. Obama’s budget would leave a $1.3 trillion deficit — $82 billion worse than if none of his policies were enacted. Over the next ten years the deficit would dip to less than a half-trillion dollars in 2017, but would rise again in the later years.

By 2022, a decade from now, the federal government would spend $5.6 trillion and take in $4.9 trillion in revenue — both figures far outstripping today’s levels.

CBO’s analysis also shows the government’s combined trust funds, including the Social Security trust funds and the cash flow of the Postal Service, will begin running deficits in 2020.

Mr. Obama released his budget last month, but it has received scant attention on Capitol Hill, where both Republicans and Democrats have ignored it. It proposed a mixture of new tax increases and tax cuts, and called for some new spending, particularly in education and infrastructure, but mostly left the entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security untouched.

In a blog posting Jeff Zients, Mr. Obama’s budget director, said CBO “confirms that the president has a balanced plan to reduce our budget deficits and put the country on a fiscally sustainable path.”

“CBO found that by 2016 deficits as a share of the economy would be below 3 percent — a key milestone of fiscal sustainability. It found that after implementing the President’s Budget, debt held by the public will decrease and then stabilize as a share of the economy, also a key indicator of improving fiscal health,” Mr. Zients wrote.

Relative to what current law dictates, CBO says Mr. Obama’s budget deepens the deficit every year for the 10-year window the agency examined.

House Republicans are pushing to write their own budget that would address the costs of those major programs. CBO’s analysis on Friday said the programs will continue to eat up an ever-larger share of government spending over the next decade, rising from $2.1 trillion in spending this year to $3.4 trillion in a decade.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said CBO’s analysis shows Mr. Obama will fall short of his promise to trim the deficit in half by the end of his four-year term of office.

“Today’s analysis serves as a disappointing reminder of this administration’s broken promises and failed leadership when it comes to averting the most predictable economic crisis in our history,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has said he doesn’t want to take up a budget in his chamber.

He says last year’s debt deal already set levels for the annual spending bills to meet, so no budget is necessary.

That debt deal did not address the long-term increases in mandatory spending programs.

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