The administration’s fiscal year 2012 budget is now available. To summarize, under the proposal the debt would increase $7.2 trillion over the next 10 years, about a trillion than it would increase under current policy. Debt held by the public would be roughly 80 percent by 2021. ABC News has a helpful write-up of the budget, and Economics21 also has a good guide for thinking about the big fiscal issues.
The most important news about this budget proposal is that the Obama administration has no plans for leading the government toward sustainable fiscal policy. Although there are nominal spending restraint measures in the budget, such as the promised federal pay freeze, it doesn’t address entitlements or tax reform. As a result, the plan falls far short of the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission’s recommended spending cuts, which were about four times as large.
It bears repeating: the president, by his own administration’s admission, submitted an unsustainable budget plan last year. He excused the irresponsibility of that plan with talk about allowing a deficit commission to find a workable solution to the debt problem. Yet that commission’s recommendations have now been submitted — along with other legitimate liberal plans — and Obama has not endorsed any of them.
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