Ornelas letter: What comes
after a trillion?
In their convention hall last month, Republicans installed a digital clock that displayed the government’s rapidly accumulating debt.
Indeed, if there is a single area in which Obama deserves failing grades, it is his failure to demonstrate serious, sustained leadership on long-term fiscal issues. Call it deficit-attention disorder.
In each year since Obama took office, the government has borrowed, or is projected to borrow, well over $1 trillion, or about $121,000 per household.
The math behind these shortfalls is plain to see. On Obama’s watch, the federal government has been spending at a rate of 24.4 percent of the economy and taxing a rate of 15.4 percent of economy (the lowest of any post-war president.)
Some of this gap is the result of higher safety-net spending and lower revenue, attributable to the recession, and moving too rapidly to close the gap could push the economy into another recession. But failing to deal with it will have dire consequences, too. Government simply can’t go on borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, year after year. As Baby Boomers retire and draw on Medicare and Social Security, the problem will only get worse. Mounting debt will leave young people and future generations will massive bills for today’s profligacy.
If this president is serious about getting the nation’s fiscal house in order, he could show it with some candid discussion of the problem and a full-throated endorsement of the problem and his own deficit commission’s approach on one of his campaign trips. And please, no one tell Obama what comes after a trillion.