President Obama Meet Senator Obama | Citizens Against Government Waste

President Obama Meet Senator Obama

The WasteWatcher

As we approach the debt-ceiling debate (expected to be sometime between mid-October and mid-November) it is worth to review what Senator Obama said about raising the debt ceiling in March, 2006.  You can find his statement in the Congressional Record here, page 2237. but I have provided it for you just below.

Before you read it, just a few things to remember.

1. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its annual report, "Long-Term Budget Outlook."  It says, "Between 2009 and 2012, the federal government recorded the largest budget deficits relative to the size of the economy since 1946, causing federal debt to soar [emphasis added.]  Federal debt held by the public is now about 73 percent of the economy’s annual output, or gross domestic product (GDP).  That percentage is higher than at any point in U.S. history except a brief period around World War II, and it is twice the percentage at the end of 2007."

2. According to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, the budget deficit was $248 billion in 2006, $161 billion in 2007, $459 billion in 2008.  Then in 2009, Obama's first year as president, the deficit shot up to $1.4 trillion, that's a trillion with a "T",  $1.3 trillion in 2010, $1.3 trillion in 2011, and $1.1 trillion in 2012.  Thanks to the sequester, the deficit is currently estimated to be $973 billion for 2013.

3. In the aforementioned CBO report, it was also stated that, "federal debt held by the public would reach 100 percent of GDP in 2038, 25 years from now, even without accounting for the harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy (see summary figure 1.)  Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely [emphasis added]."

It is clear the United States needs to get its fiscal house in order or we will end up looking like the countries of Greece, that currently has a debt to GDP ratio of 157%, or Spain with an 84% debt to GDP ratio.  Greece's and Spain's unemployment rate is at 27% and 26% respectively.  Politicians promised the people "cradle to grave" entitlement programs and these have led to the fiscal collapse of the countries.

Our debt of $16.9 trillion is like an anchor on our nation's economy.  It must be reduced.  It is why current spending levels must at minimum be maintained or reduced for 2014.  It is why Congress must demand from President Obama that in order to raise the debt ceiling, more spending cuts must be made.  So far, he has stated he will not negotiate on raising the debt ceiling and has called for an end to the sequester cuts.

Too bad Senator Obama wasn't still in the Senate.


March 16, 2006, Congressional Record, page 2237


Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.  Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is “trillion” with a “T.”  That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.  And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.  Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand.  Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest.  That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.  That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined.  It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.  And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget.  This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.  Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities.  Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans—a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about.  If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.  But we are not doing that.  Despite repeated efforts by Senators CONRAD and FEINGOLD, the Senate continues to reject a return to the commonsense Pay-go rules that used to apply.  Previously, Pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and to tax cuts.  The Senate had to abide by the commonsense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues.  Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending.  As a result, tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money.  Now we have to pay for those tax breaks plus the cost of borrowing for them.  Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next 5 years.  That is why I will once again cosponsor the Pay-go amendment and continue to hope that my colleagues will return to a smart rule that has worked in the past and can work again.  Our debt also matters internationally.  My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt.  This administration did more than that in just 5 years. Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries.  But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.  Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that “the buck stops here.”  Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.  I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

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