National debt crosses $16 trillion threshold

National Debt Clock

As Democrats kicked off their convention yesterday in Charlotte, North Carolina, the United States crossed an ominous threshold as the national debt clock crossed the $16 trillion mark — nearly $51,000 per citizen. While we should understand that the national debt and unfunded liabilities were already unsustainable over the long term, President Barack Obama has done little to rein them in.

During his term in office, President Obama has overseen four consecutive years of $1+ trillion budget deficits, adding some $5.375 trillion dollars to the national debt since during that time. This is the same man who slammed the deficits of George W. Bush on the campaign trail in 2008. Obama, then a U.S. Senator from Illinois, told supporters, “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — [Bush] added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child.” Obama said that this was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”

In just under four years, Obama has now exceeded the debt racked up by Bush, who did his damage over two terms. And while he admits that the budget deficits being racked pose long-term problems for the United States, Obama had not offered a solution to deal with the ever growing leviathan. In fact, Obama hasn’t even been successful in pushing through a budget during his term — that’s right, Congress hasn’t performed it’s most basic function in more than three years, even when Democrats overwhelmingly controlled both chambers.

It seems his answer is to keep expanding government, through a costly health care “reform” law, raising taxes along the way on those who already contribute much more than their “fair share” of the income tax burden. Budget proposals that would do much to reduce the debt and take on the difficult task of reforming crippling entitlements, such as the solutions put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has been met with cheap rhetoric from the Obama Administration. There is perhaps no better example of this than the admission made by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner earlier this year during a House Budget Committee hearing back in February.

In what was a stunning moment of honesty in Washington, Geithner told Rep. Ryan, “You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say ‘we have a definitive solution to that long term problem.’” Geithner continued, “What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”

President Obama has been campaign for the presidency since he stepped on the national scene at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. His re-election bid started almost as soon as he stepped foot in the White House in 2009. No one should dismiss the role Republicans have played in putting the United States in the precarious situation it now find itself in, but President Obama has taken things bad to worse; and there is absolutely no getting around that.

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