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Obama Drowns in Red Ink

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Deficit, Unsustainable spending, irresponsiblility, Debt, Barack Obama, Obama, Obama Administration, Democrats, Broken Promises, Profligacy, Unsustainability, Budget )

- 2221 days ago -
His stunning lack of leadership fuels our fiscal catastrophe.


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Paula M (39)
Friday October 19, 2012, 11:21 am
From the article:

Under Obama, America has made history: four consecutive annual deficits surpassing $1 trillion. After FY 2009’s $1.41 trillion hole (which he and an all-Democratic Congress could have filled), the next three deficits were, in chronological order, $1.29 trillion, $1.3 trillion, and $1.1 trillion. Thus, Obama has swelled the national debt by at least $5.1 trillion — all in one term. Another record. (See chart.)

As The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey H. Anderson recalls, Obama predicted in May 2009 that FY 2012’s deficit would be just $557 billion. Obama misunderestimated the depth of last year’s red ink by almost exactly half. Never take a diving lesson from this man.

Obama’s massive misjudgment confirms his profligacy and incompetence. The least a president should do is forecast accurately the pace at which he spends the nation into oblivion. Obama cannot manage even that.

Obama’s stunning lack of leadership fuels this catastrophe. Budgets are key to controlling spending. Nonetheless, while the Republican House of Representatives has passed two budgets, Obama has permitted the Democratic Senate to violate the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act by refusing to endorse any budget whatsoever. Like an equatorial backwater patrolled by feral chickens, the United States of America has not adopted a budget since April 29, 2009.

Even worse, Obama has not exercised enough muscle to earn even one congressional vote for his latest budget. It failed unanimously, with every voting House and Senate member, Republican and Democrat alike, giving his blueprint a thumb down. The House killed Obama’s proposal 0–414. The Senate followed suit, 0–99. That Obama could not convince even one of Congress’s 535 members to support such pivotal legislation represents a canyonesque low in presidential ineptitude. How appropriate for a man who has driven America off a cliff, and still floors the accelerator as the nation speeds toward the jagged rocks below.

Kit B (276)
Friday October 19, 2012, 11:56 am

There a blog based on nonsense and then there are FACTS: (both the good and the down side of Obama's spending and budgets)


Mitt Romney claims President Barack Obama’s spending amounts to an “inferno.” But who is really responsible for the huge jump that took place in fiscal 2009? Here are some undisputed facts:

■Fiscal 2009 began Oct. 1, 2008. That was before Obama was elected, and nearly four months before he took office on Jan. 20, 2009.

■President Bush signed the massive spending bill under which the government was operating when Obama took office. That was Sept. 30, 2008. As The Associated Press noted, it combined “a record Pentagon budget with aid for automakers and natural disaster victims, and increased health care funding for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

■Bush also signed, on Oct. 3, 2008, a bank bailout bill that authorized another $700 billion to avert a looming financial collapse (though not all of that would end up being spent in fiscal 2009, and Obama later signed a measure reducing total authorized bailout spending to $475 billion).

■On Jan. 7, 2009 — two weeks before Obama took office — the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued its regular budget outlook, stating: “CBO projects that the deficit this year will total $1.2 trillion.”

■CBO attributed the rapid rise in spending to the bank bailout and the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – plus rising costs for unemployment insurance and other factors driven by the collapsing economy (which shed 818,000 jobs in January alone).

■Another factor beyond Obama’s control was an automatic 5.8 percent cost of living increase announced in October 2008 and given to Social Security beneficiaries in January 2009. It was the largest since 1982. Social Security spending alone rose $66 billion in fiscal 2009, and Medicare spending, driven by rising medical costs, rose $39 billion.

How Much Did Obama Add?

But it’s also true that Obama signed a number of appropriations bills, plus other legislation and executive orders, that raised spending for the remainder of fiscal 2009 even above the path set by Bush. By our calculations, Obama can be fairly assigned responsibility for a maximum of $203 billion in additional spending for that year.

It can be argued that the total should be lower. Economist Daniel J. Mitchell of the libertarian CATO Institute — who once served on the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee — has put the figure at $140 billion.

Ordinarily, an incoming president has little or no influence over spending that was approved under his predecessor. So in normal circumstances, all spending for fiscal year 2009 would have been rightly tied to Bush, and fiscal 2010 would be the first year for which Obama would have prepared a budget and signed the major spending bills. And for the most part, big spending programs that require no yearly appropriations, including Social Security and Medicare, did indeed continue to operate during fiscal 2009 under the policies in effect under Bush.

But in Obama’s case, he quickly pushed through Congress and signed a large economic stimulus measure containing a combination of tax cuts and new spending in fiscal 2009. And while Bush had signed full-year appropriations for the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and veterans programs, he had left the remainder of government agencies that need annual appropriations funded only through March 2009.

Here’s how we arrived at our $203 billion total: We combed through all the appropriations bills signed by Obama for 2009, plus other legislation that CBO said also resulted in increased spending. We also examined the budget effects of Obama’s decision to bail out General Motors and Chrysler using funds previously appropriated under TARP. And here’s what we found:

■$2 billion for children’s health insurance. On Feb. 4, Obama signed a bill expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program, covering millions of additional children (a Democratic bill Bush had vetoed in the previous Congress). “CBO estimates that the act will increase mandatory outlays by $2 billion in 2009,” CBO later stated (page 5).

■$114 billion in stimulus spending. Obama signed the stimulus bill Feb. 17. While headlines proclaimed a $787 billion price tag, about 27 percent of the total was actually for tax cuts, not spending. And most of the spending didn’t take place until after fiscal 2009. CBO initially put the total spent in fiscal 2009 at $107.8 billion, but the following year it revised the figure upward to $114 billion, in a report issued in August 2010 (page 13).

■$32 billion of the “omnibus” spending bill Obama signed on March 11, 2009, to keep the agencies that Bush had not fully funded running through the remainder of the fiscal year. The $410 billion measure included $32 billion more than had been spent the previous year, according to a floor statement by Rep. Jerry Lewis of California, the top-ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee. (See page H2790 in the Congressional Record.) “An 8 percent—or a $32 billion—increase in 1 year on top of the stimulus package is simply unnecessary and unsustainable,” he declared.

A case can be made that Obama shouldn’t be held responsible for the entire $32 billion increase. The $410 billion was only $20 billion more than Bush had requested, according to Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the appropriations chairman. (See page H2800.) And CBO later figured the increase amounted to only $9 billion over what it was projecting on the assumption that the levels Bush approved for the first part of the year would be extended for the entire year (page 5).

But it was Obama who signed the bill, so we assign responsibility for the full annual increase to him, not Bush.

■$2 billion for deposit insurance. The “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act” that Obama signed May 20 had among its many provisions some changes to the federal program that insures bank deposits. CBO later estimated that would increase fiscal 2009 outlays by $2 billion (page 54).

■$31 billion in “supplemental” spending for the military and other purposes. Obama pushed for and signed on June 24 another spending measure. The press dubbed it a “war funding” bill, but it actually contained $26 billion for non-defense measures (including funding for flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus, and for the International Monetary Fund) in addition to $80 billion for the military.

Only a portion of the total $106 billion it authorized would actually be spent during the remaining three months of fiscal 2009, however. Sen. Kent Conrad, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, stated on June 18: “ The conference report includes $105.9 billion in discretionary budget authority for fiscal year 2009, which will result in outlays in 2009 of $30.5 billion.” (See page S6776.)

Here again, a case can be made that Obama isn’t responsible for the entire $31 billion. Economist Mitchell argues that $25 billion in military spending should be assigned to Bush, because “Bush surely would have asked for at least that much extra spending.” But he didn’t. So rather than speculate, we’ll assign it all to Obama, who asked for it.

■$2 billion in additional “Cash for Clunkers” funding. Obama signed this measure Aug. 7, providing “emergency supplemental” funding for a stimulus program that offered $3,500 to $4,500 to car owners who traded in an old car for a new one with higher fuel economy. Nearly all was spent in fiscal 2009. (See page 959.)

■$20 billion for GM and Chrysler bailouts. At one point the government had paid out nearly $80 billion to support the automakers. But some of this was Bush’s doing, and much has been repaid and will be in the future.
Here’s how we arrived at our $20 billion figure for Obama:

By the time Obama took office, Bush already had loaned nearly $21 billion to the two automakers from funds appropriated originally for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and had committed the government to lend $4 billion more. But Bush left decisions on further aid to Obama, who poured in additional billions.

By the end of the fiscal year, the Treasury had made approximately $76 billion in loans and equity investments to GM, Chrysler and their respective financing entities (some had already been repaid). But for budget accounting purposes, not all of this was counted as federal spending under the TARP law. That’s because the government stood to receive loan repayments with interest, and held nearly 61 percent of the stock of the reorganized General Motors. What was counted as spending was — in rough terms — the difference between the estimated future value of those assets to taxpayers and their initial cost.

Treasury put the net cost of the GM and Chrysler support during fiscal 2009 at $45 billion (see page 110, the “Total subsidy cost” line under the heading “AIFP,” for Automotive Industry Financing Program). That’s the amount officially booked as a federal outlay for fiscal 2009.

We assume — we think reasonably — that the $25 billion committed under Bush would have been lost had Obama done nothing. So we subtract the full amount of Bush’s commitment from the net total of $45 billion that Treasury initially estimated for fiscal 2009.

For the record, the ultimate total cost of the auto bailout is now estimated to be lower than initially expected. It is put at $21 billion by the Treasury Department (see page 5) and and only $19 billion by CBO (see Table 3). But those lowered estimates don’t affect what was booked as spending in fiscal 2009.

Other big domestic programs that don’t require yearly appropriations, including Social Security and Medicare, continued to operate as they had under Bush. One big fiscal 2009 spending increase resulted from an unusually large 5.8 percent cost of living increase that took effect just before Obama took office. That was an anomaly, as we explained in “Social Security COLA,” posted Sept. 23, 2009, and there would be no COLA at all for the next two years. The same 5.8 percent COLA also was given in 2009 to millions of federal retirees, military retirees and disabled veterans and their survivors.

So by our calculations, Obama can fairly be assigned responsibility for — at most — 5.8 percent of the $3.5 trillion that the federal government actually spent in fiscal 2009, which was 17.9 percent higher than fiscal 2008.

A Binge That ‘Never Happened’?

The White House has promoted a May 22 column by Rex Nutting of the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website that concluded “federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower.” Nutting also argued that allegations of a “reckless spending spree” by Obama constitute a “whopper” and “never happened.”

That raised howls and rebuttals from conservative stalwarts at the Wall Street Journal’s own editorial page, at the libertarian Reason magazine, at the Heritage Foundation and even from Cato’s economist Mitchell, who called Nutting’s comparisons “nutty” in a piece for the Forbes magazine website, even though Nutting based his analysis in part on the same $140 billion figure Mitchell uses for Obama’s fiscal 2009 spending.

Our own analysis leads us to conclude that Obama deserves responsibility for somewhat more fiscal 2009 spending than Nutting or Mitchell assign to him, as we’ve noted. Spending in that year shot up an incredible $535 billion. Nutting and Mitchell hold Obama responsible for only 26 percent of that increase, but we conclude that Obama can fairly be assigned responsibility for as much as 38 percent.

We also disagree with Nutting’s conclusion that Obama’s increases are the lowest since Eisenhower. Not only should Nutting have measured Obama’s increases from a lower base, in our judgment, he also fails to take account of inflation, which has been extraordinarily low during Obama’s term.

Moderate Increases Since 2009

Since fiscal 2009, however, it cannot be denied that spending has increased only modestly. Total federal outlays actually went down 1.7 percent in fiscal 2010, for example, then rose a little more than 4 percent in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Spending was projected by CBO to rise less than 1 percent in fiscal 2012. In fact, CBO reported on May 7 in its most recent monthly budget report that spending for the first seven months of the current fiscal year was 3.4 percent below the same period a year ago. That was mostly due to differences in timing of certain payments, but even adjusting for those, CBO figured spending is 0.8 percent lower so far this year.

Overrated ‘TARP Effect’

Some have claimed that the modest spending increases since fiscal 2009 are illusory, and Obama’s spending has been masked by the way the government accounts for TARP spending. For example, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto wrote that TARP would have caused “a sharp increase in 2009, followed by a sharp decrease in 2010.”

Actually, not so much. A close look shows the TARP effect has been rather modest.

Spending on the TARP program turned out to be much less than the $700 billion originally authorized. Congress later reduced the authorization to $475 billion in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that Obama signed on July 21, 2010. And not all was spent in 2009.

Actual outlays for TARP in fiscal 2009 totaled $154 billion, according to the CBO. So the one-time bump in spending amounted to about 4 percent of fiscal 2009 spending.

It’s true that money recovered since then is recorded as negative spending rather than as increased revenues. And that does artificially reduce Obama’s spending figures — but not by much.

TARP decreased federal spending by $108 billion in fiscal 2010 and $39 billion last year, according to the CBO. Those artificial reductions brought down federal spending by just 3 percent in fiscal 2010, and 1 percent in fiscal 2011. Even without those reductions, Obama’s spending increases wouldn’t come close to equaling the average annual increase under Bush.
****More at Fact ****

Paula M (39)
Friday October 19, 2012, 12:24 pm
Sophistry, Kit B. That is willing to accept these misleading statements as the full and complete truth merely discredits


1. President Obama and the Democratic Congress voted for the 2009 budget, and President Obama, not President Bush, signed it.

2. The proper response to a budget that was increased due to temporary extravagant expenditures (like the stimulus) is to plan more modest budgets in subsequent years, not make a year of extravagance the new standard of spending.

As for 2009, a good discussion of the President's responsibility for its levels of spending can be found here:

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Sunday October 21, 2012, 12:50 am
Thanks Kit for your detailed reply.

jan b (5)
Sunday October 21, 2012, 3:13 am
Ezra Klein at the Wash Post- wrote ---When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. But ask yourself: Which of Obama’s policies added to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid.

When Obama entered office, the Bush tax cuts were already in place and two wars were ongoing....and the Seniors Part D was passed by republicans with Bush calling them in the middle of the night that's how important it was to pharma they set 3 lobbyist on for each senator NONE of the 3 were FUNDED. .

Is it fair to blame Obama for war costs four months after he was inaugurated, or tax collections 10 days after he took office given the Bush recession and layoffs ?

Note: Obama's first year's budget was created under the Bush Adm....Forbes --the capitalist --- wrote an article that Obama has been tighter with money than any president since IKE.

So put all that in your pipe and smoke it ....


jan b (5)
Sunday October 21, 2012, 3:14 am

Amidst all the cries of Barack Obama being the most prolific big government spender the nation has ever suffered, Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Who knew?

Check out the chart – at the link

So, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative? It might have something to do with the first year of the Obama presidency where the federal budget increased a whopping 17.9% —going from $2.98 trillion to $3.52 trillion. I’ll bet you think that this is the result of the Obama sponsored stimulus plan that is so frequently vilified by the conservatives…but you would be wrong.

The first year of any incoming president term is saddled—for better or for worse—with the budget set by the president whom immediately precedes the new occupant of the White House. Indeed, not only was the 2009 budget the property of George W. Bush—and passed by the 2008 Congress—it was in effect four months before Barack Obama took the oath of office.

Accordingly, the first budget that can be blamed on our current president began in 2010 with the budgets running through and including including fiscal year 2013 standing as charges on the Obama account, even if a President Willard M. Romney takes over the office on January 20, 2013.

So, how do the actual Obama annual budgets look?

Courtesy of Marketwatch-

In fiscal 2010 (the first Obama budget) spending fell 1.8% to $3.46 trillion.
In fiscal 2011, spending rose 4.3% to $3.60 trillion.
In fiscal 2012, spending is set to rise 0.7% to $3.63 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the budget that was agreed to last August.
Finally in fiscal 2013 — the final budget of Obama’s term — spending is scheduled to fall 1.3% to $3.58 trillion. Read the CBO’s latest budget outlook.

Past Member (0)
Sunday October 21, 2012, 8:56 am
Kit, George W. Bush signed TARP. It was added to his deficit handed to Obama. Most of it has been repaid. Now we should deduct what has been paid back and lower GWB's actual deficit.

Millions of Americans would take GWB's deficit back in a heartbeat compared to the mess Obama has created.

Past Member (0)
Sunday October 21, 2012, 3:38 pm
Robert, not so...just not so. So, where did Kit get her information? Anyone who is incapable of adding up what Obama has spent in the past four years is poor in math skills. Remember....not one but two credit downgrades under Obama. I'm more inclined to believe Standard & Poors math...debt to income ratio math.

How about you?

Past Member (0)
Monday October 22, 2012, 2:39 am
Mitt Romney is leading in the swing states and will win this election in a few weeks. The debate tomorrow night won't be able to change those red states to blue states. I believe the majority of Americans have made up their minds to send Obama back to Chicago.

Jak Crow (0)
Monday October 22, 2012, 1:47 pm
Have you noticed that paula, diane, and friends are trying to drown us in right wing talking points?

Kit B (276)
Monday October 22, 2012, 7:46 pm

Try reading - the information as stated is from FACT CHECK - not a blog or opinion, just FACT. FYI, Fact Check is the Annenburg Foundation - he was a republican and Fact Check is fully non-partisan.

Paula M (39)
Tuesday October 23, 2012, 1:05 pm
Kit B., is notoriously biased and regularly fails to accurately assess the factual accuracy of claims. Here, for instance, are a couple of examples of Factcheck coming to the wrong conclusion due to its failure to include important relevant facts:

The undeniable fact is that President Obama voted for the expenditures that occurred in 2009, refused while president to walk them back, and continued to borrow and spend at an unsustainable rate for each of his following years in office. He has resolutely fought any attempt by Republicans to reign in spending, and his own budget proposals have been so consistently bad that he cannot even get his own party to vote for them.

The President's record on spending has been anything but responsible.


Paula M (39)
Tuesday October 23, 2012, 1:08 pm
Jak C., I would say that we are offering you the refreshing air of truth.

Jak Crow (0)
Tuesday October 23, 2012, 2:31 pm
By quoting Cato? Hilarious.
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