The Congressional Budget Office recently released its statistics on the federal budget for fiscal year 2011. The results are staggering — and completely inconsistent with the notion that the federal government has engaged in any kind of belt-tightening.
According to the CBO, the federal government spent $3.6 trillion in fiscal year 2011, and racked up a budget deficit of $1.298 trillion. Those numbers are titanic. This is an instance where words are a poor substitute for zeros. $3.6 trillion, written numerically, is $3,600,000,000,000.00. Our deficit, for the 2011 fiscal year, was $1,298,000,000,000.00. According to the CBO, in the last three years our federal government has incurred by far the three largest annual budget deficits during the entire time period since 1945. Each of those three annual deficits exceeded $1,290,000,000,000.00. In those three years, we’ve added $4,000,000,000,000.00 to our national debt.
Those are figures that should be read with a shrill, rising mental voice, to properly reflect how truly alarming they are. But, no one in charge seems very alarmed. Instead, we have Democrats who act like Republicans are forcing our federal government to accept the most draconian cuts imaginable, Republicans who act like they’ve been budgetary hardasses, and a President who is out on another bus tour, kissing babies and eating barbecue and arguing that we should spend even more than we do.
It’s as if they are in their own little fishbowl world, as divorced from reality as Nora Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Does any rational person think we can continue to borrow more than $1,000,000,000,000.00 a year, largely from foreign investors, without experiencing life-changing consequences to our country and our lifestyles? If we don’t change course, soon we’ll find ourselves floating face down in the pool, like hapless screenwriter Joe Gillis.