The Treasury Department has announced that our federal government, in May, racked up a deficit of $124,600,000,000 — $124.6 billion. That brings the deficit for the first eight months of the October 1 to September 30 fiscal year to $844,500,000,000. I use the full numbers because the long strings of zeroes better convey the colossal scale of the spending hole that we continue, relentlessly, to dig for ourselves and the Americans of future generations.
The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that this year’s deficit will be $1,170,000, 000,000 — $1.17 trillion. That breathtakingly huge number comes on the heels of the $1,300,000,000,000 deficit in the last fiscal year. Our deficits topped $1,000,000,000,000 during each of President Obama’s three years in office.
No rational person can believe such deficits are sustainable or that it is a good idea to go farther into hock without doing anything about it. Yet that is precisely how our federal government has responded. Where responsible people would be cutting non-essential programs, reducing payrolls and salaries, developing rational revenue policies, and taking the practical, meaningful steps necessary to bring revenue and spending into balance, our government does . . . nothing.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Congress has shirked its responsibility to pass honest budgets and specific spending bills, administrators have wasted tax dollars, and huge segments of the American public have an apparently insatiable appetite for federal benefits and perks. But I have grown sick to death of President Obama’s constant attempts to dodge his share of the blame for the ignominious failure of the government that he — and he alone — heads. Successful Presidents are able to lead and work within our political system to deal the issues of the day. President Obama, in contrast, throws out unrealistic budgets that don’t even receive the votes of members of his own party in Congress and then blames his predecessor — the one who left office more than three years ago — for our mounting debt problems. Meanwhile, the spending and deficit binge continues. I don’t view President Obama’s approach as quality leadership. In fact, I don’t view it as leadership at all — and if a President doesn’t lead, he has failed on the most fundamental part of his job.
Many of us have known people who appeared to live well beyond their means. We wonder how it can continue, and then, inevitably, the crash comes and the entire house of cards collapses with awful results. If you’ve seen that scenario, you can’t help but be uneasy about the direction in which our country is heading. The many zeroes in those trillion-dollar deficit numbers are like the lead weights on the chains binding Marley’s ghost, dragging us slowly and inexorably downward to a fate we fear will be filled with terrible consequences.