The official, head-to-head debates begin next week, but Sunday’s “60 Minutes” appearances by President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) provided a contrast in the ideas offered on the nation’s entitlements and spending crisis.
For his part, the President punted on a serious question about the nation’s concern over spending—blaming everything on President George W. Bush. Instead of addressing the spending question, he waited for the next question about the national debt, which has increased more than 50 percent since he took office. Then came the familiar refrain of why he’s not responsible for Washington’s overspending or the country’s abysmal fiscal situation:
When I came into office, I inherited the biggest deficit in our history. And over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
These continued excuses ignore the massive increases since the President took office. According to Heritage expert Emily Goff: By fiscal year 2008, the deficit had reached $458.6 billion. The deficit was increasing as Obama came into office, mainly driven by the recession and the first wave of TARP bailouts. But his Administration’s massive stimulus bill sent spending into overdrive and led to a record $1.4 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2009. Deficits have stayed at more than $1 trillion each year since then.
America’s entitlement programs are the major driver of out-of-control spending. Without reform, they would push federal spending to nearly 36 percent of the economy within a generation. Debt held by the public would explode to nearly 200 percent. Serious structural reforms are inevitable—it is merely a question of how we change what we are doing.
Read More at heritage.org. By Amy Payne.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)