The national debt has grown by $3 trillion since President Barack Obama took office, the most rapid growth under any president since FDR’s war-time defense buildup. Federal government spending — now at 25 percent of GDP — is crowding out private investment. Worse, liabilities of Social Security and Medicare are now cash-flow negative, threatening to add hundreds of billions to the debt each year. The Cato Institute estimates that unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities now exceed $115 trillion.
The American people are looking for leadership. Most don’t buy into Washington’s illusion that the nation can spend its way to prosperity, and they are ready to tighten their belts. People sense that deficit spending and printing money, which may help them feel better in the short run, is like a narcotic. In the long run, it becomes addictive — requiring ever larger doses for the same effect — and it leads to disaster.
It borders on denial, when today the U.S. is supposedly in economic recovery, yet the CBO projects a record high deficit of $1.48 trillion for 2011 — with more near trillion dollar annual deficits ahead.