Candidate Obama Said $11.3 Trillion Debt Limit Was ‘Unpatriotic.’ Now the National Debt Is $18.1 Trillion
In October 2008, Congress raised the debt limit to $11.3 trillion. Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced the action as “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”
But those were the good ol’ days, when Congress actually put a statutory limit on the debt. Seven years later, Congress has become only more fiscally irresponsible.
Today the national debt has climbed to $18.1 trillion—60 percent higher than the “unpatriotic” limit set just seven years ago. And it’s only going to get worse.
Last week, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, suspending the debt limit altogether for the fourth time in three years. What that means is that Congress has officially granted the Treasury Department unlimited borrowing authority for the rest of Obama’s final term.
Unfortunately, this budget deal doesn’t simply put on blinders when it comes to the debt. It also increases total federal spending by $85 billion over the next three years, blowing through the caps established in 2011 by the Budget Control Act.
About half of that new spending won’t be paid for until 2025—seven years after the money’s gone out—and that’s assuming lawmakers stick with the “revenue enhancers” called for in the bill. Whether they do or not, the deal guarantees that taxpayers will take on billions in additional debt.
How can you make a bad deal worse? Well, one way was is to turn emergency war funding into a slush fund for domestic programs. And that’s what this deal does, siphoning almost $16 billion in war funding into nondefense agencies like the State Department and Homeland Security over the next two years.