Wednesday, November 26, 2008


A one trillion dollar budget deficit in 2009! The entire 2009 federal budget (as submitted by President Bush) is only $3.1 trillion! Holy crap!

That’s what President-elect Obama will inherit, thanks the President Bush’s reckless mismanagement of the federal government, taxes, and economic policy.

The AP describes it pretty well:

While nobody likes a deficit, many economists agree that heavy federal government spending—on food stamps or unemployment benefits or public works projects—may be necessary to keep economies moving in times of recession or war.

The problem is that this time Washington was racking up massive deficits even before the current economic downturn.

We can’t cut government assistance in this economy. We can’t cut anything that would result in significant government layoffs. So the deficit explodes…

If President Bush wants to do what’s best for his country, he’ll immediately start recommending specific cuts to the military budget since these are best received when they come from a Republican (the “only Nixon could go to China” philosophy). Obama, as a Democrat, can then tackle non-military spending cuts.

However, spending cuts can only get us so far. In fact, they’re a drop in the bucket compared to $1 trillion deficit. We’re not talking about trimming the fat here; we’re talking about nearly one third of the entire federal government being financed by deficits.

We’d have to eliminate one third of the federal government to catch up. It’s almost beyond comprehension what that means.

PS: Maybe President-elect Obama bought himself a little political capital on military spending cuts by keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense. If Gates gives the green light to certain cuts, that might help. Perhaps Obama understood that he need the credibility of a Republican Secretary of Defense to do what needs to be done, not just for defense spending but for bringing our troops home.

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