The Corner

“Not a Significant Growth in the Overall Size of Government”?

Recall when former D.C. mayor Marion Barry tried to explain why the D.C. crime rate was not all that bad, so long we paid no attention to that year’s precipitious rise in the murder rate?

Well, take a look at this excerpt from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s recent appearance before the Senate Budget Committee, trying to explain to ranking Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (R, N.H.) why President Obama’s FY 2010 budget is actually a paean to fiscal conservatism:

GEITHNER:  Now, you’ve said several times this is a dramatic expansion in the size of the government relative to the economy. Now, again, if you take out interest costs, and you take out the modest increase forced by aging of the baby boom, this is a change in priorities for the country, but it’s not a significant growth in the overall size of the government to GDP.

Restated, if we just pay no attention to that $80 trillion-plus Baby Boom entitlement liability over there behind the curtain, and ignore a budget line-item (“net interest” on the debt) that triples between now and 2013 (from $139 billion to $434 billion), and then doubles again by 2019 (to $622 billion), then we are on a sound fiscal course.

My colleague Brian Riedl sets forth the full rap sheet on Obama’s FY 2010 budget in an excellent overview here.

Here are the highlights:

President Barack Obama has proposed a budget that would:

– Increase spending by $1 trillion over the next decade;

– Include an additional $250 billion placeholder for another financial bailout;

– Likely lead to a 12-percent increase in discretion­ary spending;

– Permanently expand the federal government by nearly 3-percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over pre-recession levels;

– Raise taxes on all Americans by $1.4 trillion over the next decade;

– Raise taxes for 3.2 million taxpayers by an average of $300,000 over the next decade;

– Call for a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) law despite offering a budget that would violate it by $3.4 trillion;

– Assume a rosy economic scenario that few econo­mists anticipate;

– Leave permanent deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers; and

– Double the publicly held national debt to over $15 trillion ($12.5 trillion after inflation).

Other than those little foibles, no problem!


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