Numbers are funny things. They don’t lie per se, but they can be manipulated to say almost anything. And this week when President Obama released his proposal to, “cut the federal deficit in half in four years”, some numbers were manipulated to say some pretty funny things. Although I’m not sure any of us will be doing any laughing when it is all said and done.
Prior to this year’s monstrous projected deficit of $1,300,000,000,000 (man, that’s a big number) the largest single year deficit in U.S. history was $455 Billion in fiscal year 2008. Yes, you read that right, our 2009 deficit will be three times the previous record! By the way, half of $1.3 Trillion is $650 Billion. Did you catch it? Look at those numbers again. When Mr. Obama promises to cut the federal deficit in half over the next 4 years, what he’s really promising you is that he will run the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th largest deficits in U.S. history behind only this year – and that’s if everything goes according to plan. Gee, thanks Mr. President!
This would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic. I noted this detail within 30 seconds of hearing his speech and waited for someone in the press to act like a journalist and comment on this point, but nothing. Instead they lauded the President with praise for “reigning in spending”, “making the tough decisions”, etc. etc. Well, there’s just one problem. The President isn’t reigning in spending. Instead spending is going to increase every single year under his budget as this chart indicates.
So, we are going to spend more than we’ve ever spent, run bigger deficits than we’ve ever run and every thing will get better? That sounds like a great plan. But it gets even sketchier folks! Look closely at this chart, the administration expects tax revenues to grow $2 Trillion in the next 10 years. Every dollar short of these revenue projections will be another dollar of debt, because we already know that Congress has no idea how to restrain themselves when it comes to spending.
This truly is some funny math. But it’s not so funny!