"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

WSJ: “The Pelosi Congress Has Used The Recession As An Excuse To Send Spending To Record Heights”

October 12th, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

In a must-read editorial today, The Wall Street Journal writes, “Perhaps you missed it, but then so did the Washington press corps. Late last week the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary budget tallies for fiscal year 2010, and the news is that the U.S. government had another fabulous year—in spending your money. . . . Spending rolled in for the year that ended September 30 at $3.45 trillion, second only to 2009’s $3.52 trillion in the record books. But don’t think this means Washington was relatively less spendthrift. CBO reports that the modest overall spending decline results from three one-time events. The costs of TARP declined by $262 billion from 2009 as banks repaid their bailout cash, payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were $51 billion lower (though still a $40 billion net loser for the taxpayer), and deposit insurance payments fell by $55 billion year over year. ‘Excluding those three programs, spending rose by about 9 percent in 2010, somewhat faster than in recent years,’ CBO says.”

The WSJ editors continue, “What did Washington spend more money on? Well, despite two wars, defense spending rose by 4.7% to $667 billion, down from an annual average increase of 8% from 2005 to 2009. Once again domestic accounts far and away led the increases. Medicaid rose by 8.7%, and unemployment benefits by an astonishing 34.3%—to $160 billion. The costs of jobless insurance have tripled in two years. CBO adds that if you take out the savings for deposit insurance, funding for all ‘other activities’ of government—education, transportation, foreign aid, housing, and so on—rose by 13% in 2010.”

“As for the deficits,” the editorial goes on, “the 2010 total was $1.29 trillion, down slightly from $1.42 trillion. That’s a two-year total of $2.7 trillion, or more than the entire amount during the Reagan Administration, when deficits were supposed to be ruinous. Now liberal economists tell us that deficits are the key to restoring prosperity. But all we have to show for spending nearly 25% of GDP for two years running is a growth rate of 1.7% and 9.6% unemployment. Those slow growth numbers have contributed to the deficits by yielding paltry tax revenues.”

Recall that it was a week ago that Reuters reported, “President Barack Obama on Monday said the United States was facing an ‘untenable fiscal situation’ and would have to get serious about tackling its federal deficit.” But it’s been the policies of President Obama and the Democrat majorities in Congress that have gotten the country into this very fiscal situation. As the WSJ editors put it, “The 21.4% federal spending increase in two years ought to put to rest any debate about the nature of America’s fiscal problem. The Pelosi Congress has used the recession as an excuse to send spending to record heights, and its economic policies have contributed to a lousy recovery.”

A new Bloomberg National Poll of likely voters today finds that after unemployment, “[t]he budget deficit, which was $1.291 trillion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 and $1.416 trillion for 2009, ranks as the second most pressing issue, cited by 27 percent.” Little wonder, then, that the poll’s marquee result is, “Hope has turned to doubt and disenchantment for almost half of President Barack Obama’s supporters. More than 4 of 10 likely voters who say they once considered themselves Obama backers now are either less supportive or say they no longer support him at all . . . .”

The WSJ editors have it right, “The solution is to stop the spending and change the policies.”

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