Just when you thought fis­cal night­mare couldn’t get worse

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

I’ll make you a deal: I’ll quit ac­cus­ing Democrats of ob­struct­ing spend­ing and en­ti­tle­ment re­form when they quit ob­struct­ing spend­ing and en­ti­tle­ment re­form.

Now we even have the non­par­ti­san, ster­ile, un­flap­pable Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice vir­tu­ally pre­dict­ing a “fis­cal cri­sis,” yet the Demo­cratic Se­nate hasn’t passed a bud­get for 785 days. There ought to be a law.

At what point will we go into panic mode? Frankly, I can’t com­pre­hend how peo­ple are so calm now.

The ma­jor com­po­nents of this fis­cal dooms­day out­look are en­ti­tle­ments, the un­funded prom­ises ap­proach­ing $100 tril­lion. We need to re­struc­ture those, rad­i­cally, so that we don’t lose ev­ery­thing.

Sure, we know we have the ca­pac­ity to turn this sit­u­a­tion around. But it can’t hap­pen be­fore 2012 with­out Demo­cratic good faith and par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The Democrats talk and be- have as though there were no ur­gency. In­stead, they just ac­cuse Rep. Paul Ryan of rob­bing se­niors of Medi­care. But the facts are that his plan would pre­serve ben­e­fits for those who are 55 or older and phase in ben­e­fit re­duc­tions for oth­ers. If we fail to re­struc­ture the sys­tem, we’ll all end up, within a gen­er­a­tion, not only with­out Medi­care ben­e­fits but also with a fallen nation.

Nor are en­ti­tle­ments our only prob­lem. Our an­nual bud­get deficits are also gar­gan­tuan, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion evidences no in­ter­est in get­ting them un­der con­trol. Pres­i­dent Obama not only has stub­bornly re­fused to be se­ri­ous about dis­cre­tionary spend­ing cuts but also con­tin­ues to pur­sue failed poli­cies guar­an­teed to im­pede eco­nomic growth, with­out which we sim­ply can­not bring our bud­gets into bal­ance.

For an in­di­ca­tion of the bleak­ness of the eco­nomic pic­ture, just look at the re­cent news-de­liv­ered gut punches. Last week’s job­less claims of 429,000 are even worse than the dis­mal num­bers of two weeks ago, mak­ing it 11 weeks in a row we’ve been above 400,000, the num­ber econ­o­mists as­so­ciate with a sta­ble la­bor mar­ket. Un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, Democrats com­plained that 4.7 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment was dread­ful. Now their pres­i­dent’s per­pet­ual 9-plus per­cent is barely re­mark­able.

Ac­cord­ing to The Associated Press, new-home sales fell 2.1 per­cent in May, “to a sea­son­ally ad­justed an­nual rate of 319,000,” which is “far be­low the 700,000 homes per year that econ­o­mists say must be sold to sus­tain a healthy hous­ing mar­ket.” All the while, the me­dian price for new houses rose. Worst of both worlds.

Now, back to the bud­get and en­ti­tle­ments. Based on the CBO’s just-re­leased long-term bud­get re­port, it is nearly im­pos­si­ble to over­state the grav­ity of our na­tional fi­nan­cial emer­gency. On our present course, our na­tional debt is in the process of swal­low­ing whole our econ­omy.

Pro­jec­tions of the nation’s im­pend­ing doom have wors­ened: We face de­struc­tion if we don’t act, and the cri­sis is ac­cel­er­at­ing.

Last year, the CBO pre­dicted our na­tional debt would be 91 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in 2021. Now, just a year later, it is pro­jected to be 101 per­cent in 2021.

It gets worse. The debt is fore­casted to be 150 per­cent of GDP by 2030 and 200 per­cent by 2037.

And, if you can even imag­ine this, it will pro­lif­er­ate more rapidly there­after. On our present course, by 2035, fed­eral in­ter­est pay­ments will be 9 per­cent of our en­tire econ­omy, com­pared with 1 per­cent to­day.

Adding in­sult to in­jury, Oba­macare, which Obama fraud­u­lently sold as an in­dis­pens­able com­po­nent of bal­anc­ing the bud­get, will greatly drive up health care costs. The CBO says that manda­tory fed­eral spend­ing on health care will in­crease by 86 per­cent, from 5.6 per­cent of GDP presently to 10.4 per­cent over the next 24 years. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Adding ag­gra­va­tion to in­sult is the re­cently dis­cov­ered “glitch” in Oba­macare that al­lows for more than 3 mil­lion mid­dle-class Amer­i­cans to qual­ify for Med­i­caid. Can you be­lieve this so­cial­ist scan­dal?

Yet the Democrats’ only ac­tion plan is to play the class war­fare card and ped­dle fear about the hor­rors of not rais­ing the debt ceil­ing.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Obama is hid­ing be­hind Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, who is han­dling the bud­get ne­go­ti­a­tions with con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans. House Ma­jor­ity Leader Eric Can­tor, hardly a rad­i­cal, has backed out of these talks be­cause of an im­passe over taxes, and Sen. Jon Kyl is ex­pected to fol­low suit. Fi­nally! Bravo. Des­per­ate times, des­per­ate mea­sures. Hard­ball. No turn­ing back.

David Lim­baugh is the au­thor of “Crimes Against Lib­erty”.

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