Saturday, March 28, 2009

Debt without end

Weekly Standard: "Obama's fuzzy math"

But the news on the red ink front is much worse than the president or even the CBO's budget report suggests. If all of Obama's "transformational" policy objectives--from global warming taxes to universal health care to doubling the Department of Energy's budget--are enacted, the debt is likely to increase from about 40 percent of GDP today to close to 100 percent of GDP by 2018. The ten-year debt is likely to be at least $6 trillion higher--or more than one-half trillion of higher deficits a year from now until forever--than the Obama budget projects.
These are uncharted levels of debt for the United States--though not for such high-flying nations as Argentina, Bolivia, and Mexico. This hemorrhaging of U.S. government debt will be happening at precisely the time when, in a rational world, the government would be running surpluses, in anticipation of the retirement of some 80 million baby boomers who will soon collect multiple trillions of dollars of government benefits from Medicare and Social Security.
As the Violent Femmes sang, add it up:

Here are the unhappy totals: the debt is $6 trillion higher from 2010 to 2019 than Obama's forecast. In no single year over the next decade, even when counting the Social Security trust fund surpluses, does the budget deficit fall below $800 billion. The interest on the national debt rises to $850 billion a year by the middle of the next decade, which will be the largest single expenditure item in the budget--eight times more than we now spend on education and four times more than we spend on homeland security. Federal spending remains well over 25 percent of GDP and in some years creeps closer to 28 percent of GDP under the Obama budget, which ironically enough is entitled "A New Era of Responsibility."
As Milton Friedman has pointed out*, there's nothing easier in the world than spending other people's money. But President Obama's budget takes spending other people's money to a whole new level: now we're spending money lent to us from the Chinese and passing the bill onto kids who haven't been born yet.

Hey, they should have voted.

Footnote* alert – I wanted to post this YouTube video of Milton Friedman but the quality is terrible. So I'll just copy the quote:

There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.
Soon to be much, much more than 40%, Uncle Miltie.

1 comment:

Jim Glass said...

The US government is on course to becoming a debt-financed retiree health benefit & pension plan with nuclear weapons.