Debt Timer Is True Doomsday Clock

To hear President Obama describe it, “the accumulated weight of that structural deficit, of ever-increasing debt, will hobble our economy, it will cloud our future, and it will saddle every child in America with an intolerable burden.” He should know. He’s certainly doing his part. He would actually sound reasonable if he hadn’t just proposed a $3.8 trillion budget with nearly $1.6 trillion in deficit spending.

Imagine that with your household budget. In lean times, and boy are these lean times, you overspend by 42 percent more than you earn – just in one year. That’s government for you.

You almost don’t want to know how big that budget really is or how far into debt it puts us. Obama’s latest budget is $700 billion more than Pres. George W. Bush’s last budget – and that’s some accomplishment. In 10 years, D.C. has doubled Bill Clinton’s last budget of $1.9 trillion.

But even Obama’s ocean of red ink hasn’t stopped the media from portraying him as a fiscal conservative. According to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Obama needs “$100 billion to spur job growth” and of course, “all economists agree the real way to get a chunk out of the deficit is to increase hiring.”

If journalists really depicted Obama as even more of a spendthrift that George Bush, it would make it harder for him to pass health care reform with another trillion-dollar price tag. So news stories mostly parrot the White House view of the world that the debt, the deficit and the economy are Bush’s fault.

That’s only partially true. Bush certainly expanded government. But for his last two years, that expansion has had the approval of a Democratic Congress that controlled the purse strings. Congress makes the budgets, not the president.

That wasn’t the story the media told us. ABC’s David Muir tried to answer the question: “How did we get here” with the debt during a Feb. 1 broadcast. His synopsis of history gave just four words to the 9/11 attack that set in motion much of Bush’s spending. Muir’s follow-up descriptions only mention Iraq and “expanded Medicare,” when the overall budget grew at an astounding rate.

To solve that, the president isn’t just kicking the can down the road. He’s trying to kick Republican cans as well by launching a “bipartisan commission” designed to give Obama political cover for the mid-term elections. It allows the president to run exactly as journalists depict him – as a reformer who’s a deficit hawk. In reality he’s done more, faster to raise the debt and deficit than anyone.

NBC’s Brian Williams gave a very uninformative view of the president’s new fiscal commission that didn’t raise any major concerns, saying it “is to find ways to reduce the nearly $1 1/2 trillion budget deficit.” Williams then went on to interview both Obama appointees to run the panel – former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson and ex-White House chief of staff under Clinton Erskine Bowles.

Unfortunately, the debt panel is more bogus bipartisanship. The commission has 18 members – six chosen by Democrats, six by Republicans and six by the president. While that last six can’t all be Democrats, they will all be likely Obama allies. So the panel shapes up 2-to-1 for the president. That’s might be Democratic, but it’s not democratic. That’s the way Bugs Bunny used to con other toons by saying: “One for you and two for me.”

It’s the same con here. If two Republicans join with Democrats, the administration could use that allegedly balanced panel to promote fees and spending hikes. All Obama would have to do would be point to the stacked commission. And if the GOP members don’t agree, they’ll be called the “party of no” by the left and the press. And it will look believable because they will be outnumbered by that same 2-to-1 margin.

Back in 1988, a National Economic Commission was formed and one member complained it was inherently pro-tax. This will be just the same. There are only a few ways to pay off these burgeoning bills – growth, spending cuts, taxes or inflation. But government regulations and high corporate taxes already stymie growth and large spending cuts are too tough for politicians.

That means taxes, and debt, will both likely increase. Take a look at the U.S. Debt Clock, an analysis of the seemingly countless trillions Americans owe now and into the future. At the top of the page is the national debt, currently at $12.4 trillion. That clock is spinning faster than Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

But other equally depressing clocks fill the rest of the screen – federal deficit ($1.4 trillion right now), Social Security liability ($14.2 trillion), total unfunded liability ($108 trillion or $348,000 per person). I’m sure some stats whiz could quibble with some of the numbers. The real point is the numbers are staggering and getting more so.

As ordinary Americans are left paying for a government out of control, the clock keeps on ticking.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.

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