Obama's Farcical Budget Betrays a Crisis-Driven Electoral Strategy
It would be one thing if Barack Obama's charade was occurring in a relatively tranquil economic and financial environment; but that is of course not the case. The federal government is already carrying an almost unfathomable level of debt. Obama's budget not only betrays the fact that he couldn't care less about endangering the nation's long-term fiscal health; it also reveals the frightening likelihood that he and his party plan to ruinously run up the debt even further so it can be used as a political weapon in the fall election campaign.
Because it is so obviously based on artificially inflated spending, it would be tempting to believe that the White House is crying wolf when it predicts that the nation will hit its currently legislated debt ceiling of $16.394 trillion in October. But two other significant holes in the administration's assumptions must be considered:
- The first is that receipts during the next eight months will come in almost 9% ahead of last year's comparable period. That won't happen if January's performance is any indication. Receipts during January 2012 were only 3.4% higher than January 2011. The two months are legitimately comparable; both had five high-collection days (mostly Mondays), and both were affected by payroll tax reductions. If receipts run only 4% higher than last year from now until September, there will be a shortfall of over $70 billion.
- Far more important is the assumption that the government will incur no additional off-budget debt during the next eight months. It will be a real surprise if that happens. Through this year's first four months alone, the $566 billion increase in the national debt far exceeded the same period's reported $349 billion budget deficit.
Hiccups in receipts combined with significant increases in off-budget debt could indeed cause the government to run out of borrowing capacity just in time for general election balloting.
David Axelrod would probably consider it a perfect storm if a debt crunch inflicts fall mayhem. In combination with other worldwide events, hitting the ceiling before November could even create a pretext for another ginned-up "financial crisis." These developments have the potential to motivate currently apathetic left-leaning voters and on-the-fence moderates to turn out in droves to ensure that Dear Leader saves them from the scary people who want the government to at least try to live within its means.
To say that the debt situation needs to be monitored closely by every Republican and conservative candidate for national office from this point forward is a huge understatement. Obama's Republican challenger and his party had better have a unified rapid-response strategy ready for such a contingency. In 2008, John McCain clearly wasn't prepared, and as a result lost any chance he may have had of defeating Obama. This time, the country literally cannot afford for Obama's opponent to fail.