Obama’s Budget Promises an Olympian Mountain of Debt For Our Kids to Pay Off

Barack Obama’s brand-new budget proposal features an illustration of a mountain on its cover. That’s fitting, because the president is promising to build a mountain of debt over the next decade. Debt held by the public will go from $14.1 trillion in 2016 to $14.7 trillion in 2017 and then onto $21.3 trillion in 2026. Under the budget’s very rosy assumptions, deficits, which have already grown from $438 billion in 2015 to $616 billion in 2016, fall to $503 billion in 2017 (how deficits shrink by over $100 billion is a mystery) but they will be up to $741 billion in 2026.

And that’s all under the optimistic (delusional) scenario of 4 percent annual growth. Note especially that Obama is totally comfortable keeping federal spending as a percentage of GDP well above 20 percent. Since 1974, when current budget rules were adopted, outlays have averaged about 20.5 percent of GDP while revenues—poor, struggling revenues—have averaged just 17.4 percent of GDP. That explains annual budget deficits and mounting national debt totals and at least until the 21st century, both parties generally agreed (at least in principle, if not in reality) that revenues and outlays should roughly tally up.

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