We didn’t need President Obama to tell us this directly. The fiscally seriousness budget Senate Democrats have released, and the White House has endorsed tells us how lightly Democrats take our national debt problems. The budget increases spending by $2.1 trillion over the next decade and raises taxes by $1.5 trillion.
But hearing the President say the words is, frankly, a little shocking:
During a Wednesday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Obama warned against adopting a “crisis mentality” when it comes to concerns about the mounting national debt. With the debt currently approaching $17 trillion, Obama said, “we don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt.”
Obama is correct in the sense that bondholders are still willing to purchase U.S. debt at low interest rates. The country isn’t currently in crisis. But this isn’t going to be the case forever, because a combination of an aging population and growing health care costs have put the nation on an unsustainable path in the long term.
What’s frustrating is that in 2009 President Obama certainly saw a crisis in our spending. “I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taken responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control,” he said in the opening remarks of a fiscal responsibility summit he convened.
Those were the words when the bulk of spending was still the result of budgeting under a Republican president. But now, four years removed from George W. Bush (who was the second worst president in US history on fiscal matters), Obama is poo-pooing our fiscal problems.