A report in Saturday's Washington Post offered a sobering and even shocking assessment of President Barack Obama's first budget proposal. And the critiques come not from Congressional Republicans or Rush Limbaugh, but from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which reports that Obama's budget, if approved as written, would effectively break the bank.
Reports the Post:
"In the first independent analysis of Obama's budget proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that Obama's policies would cause government spending to swell above historic levels even after costly programs to ease the recession and stabilize the nation's financial system have ended.
Tax collections, meanwhile, would lag well behind spending, producing huge annual budget deficits that would force the nation to borrow nearly $9.3 trillion over the next decade -- $2.3 trillion more than the president predicted when he unveiled his budget request just one month ago.
Although Obama would come close to meeting his goal of cutting in half the deficit he inherited by the end of his first term, the CBO predicts that deficits under his policies would exceed 4 percent of the overall economy over the next 10 years, a level White House budget director Peter R. Orszag yesterday acknowledged would "not be sustainable."
The result, according to the CBO, would be an ever-expanding national debt that would exceed 82 percent of the overall economy by 2019 -- double last year's level -- and threaten the nation's financial stability.
"This clearly creates a scenario where the country's going to go bankrupt. It's almost that simple," said Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. "One would hope these numbers would wake somebody up," Gregg said." . . . .
. . . . .The CBO is the official scorekeeper for budgeting on Capitol Hill, and the new report could complicate efforts to win congressional approval for Obama's $3.6 trillion request for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. While Obama had predicted a deficit of nearly $1.2 trillion for 2010, the CBO puts next year's budget gap at nearly $1.4 trillion. And this year's deficit is now projected to soar past $1.8 trillion, or 13 percent of the economy -- the deepest well of red ink since the end of World War II.
This is "change you can count on," perhaps. But is it change we can afford?