I saw it with my own eyes on a video clip that Sean Hannity played. At a speech in Baltimore, President Obama laughingly dismissed the notion that he is responsible for our nation's current spending orgy. Seriously.
Sporting a wide grin, Obama said, "I love listening to these guys give us lectures about debt and deficits." He must think this subject is a real knee-slapper. He continued: "I inherited a trillion-dollar deficit. We had a surplus; they turned it into a deficit, built in a structural deficit that extends for decades. ... We signed $2 trillion in spending cuts into law. I laid out a detailed plan for a total of $4 trillion in deficit reduction. ... But even when you account for the steps we took to prevent a depression and jump-start the economy ... spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years."
A fascinating question is whether Obama actually believes this fantasy or he and his disciples are laughing at us, as well.
Yes, he's had some delusional enablers who have argued that he has been fiscally frugal, having actually slowed the rate of government spending. Yes, you read that correctly.
But how do these enablers make such a claim -- in print, no less? Well, the best I can figure is that they say that the deficit for Bush's final fiscal year was above $1 trillion and that hence Obama's $1 trillion deficits thereafter constitute continuing the status quo; he's not increasing the level of the deficits.
Wow. That's creative, but it's completely disingenuous. We must first understand that presidential term years don't coincide with budget years. There is overlap, and the final Bush year was partially Obama's.
Also, the final Bush budget year was extraordinary because the housing crisis had unfolded and there were TARP expenditures, many of which were later repaid. It's also worth remembering that the primary cause of the housing crisis was the affordable housing policies that were mostly pushed by liberal lawmakers. President Bush might have been on board for some of this early on, but he strongly appealed to Democrats in Congress to curtail this program well before it had reached crisis levels, and scoffers such as Rep. Barney Frank dismissed him out of hand and assured the nation there was nothing to fear from these reckless policies.
In addition, in running for re-election, President Bush promised to cut the budget deficit in half, and he did so. By 2007, his budget deficit was $161 billion, a mere fraction of every one of Obama's trillion-dollar-plus deficits. In that year, by the way, we were still at war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and the tax cuts had been fully implemented years before, conclusively putting the lie to Obama's claim that Bush handed him astronomical deficits as a result of his tax cuts and two wars. Utter nonsense. Shameless propaganda.
President Bush did spend too much, though Obama's deficits have dwarfed his. But for the sake of argument, let's take Obama at his word that he inherited enormous deficits from President Bush. Wouldn't the reaction of a responsible presidential successor have been to say, "We have racked up bankrupting spending, so we must reverse course and get our spending under control; we owe it to our kids not to squander their future and saddle them with mountains of debt"?
Instead, Obama cynically used the extraordinary deficit in that final year as a license to re-establish the base line for future deficits so that he could embark on his extravagant spending spree while pretending he was not increasing the deficit. He has piled on deficits of more than $1 trillion during each of his four years. Unintentionally, you say?
Nice try, but the Congressional Budget Office says that his most recent 10-year budget also gives us annual deficits averaging almost $1 trillion per year. He does not even aspire to bring the budget into balance. Add to this that he is steadfastly obstructing entitlement reform -- so that our $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities will continue to grow apace -- and we will soon be out of time to avoid going the way of Greece.
Obama has not cut trillions in spending. At most, he has been forced to agree to reductions in the level of spending increases. But even here, he has gone back on his word and broken his agreements. He offers us nothing but more spending proposals -- claiming it's the only way to stimulate the economy and pretending we are too stupid to realize we've already been there and done that.
Obama's claim that he is not a big spender is preposterous, but if he insists on insulting the intelligence of the American people in sticking to his story, that's fine with me because it will make our task of defeating him in November that much easier.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.