It feels like yesterday when John Boehner was bragging how he got 98% of what he desired from the deal negotiated to raise the debt ceiling in August 2011. Yet just 17 months after Obama was granted a $2.1 trillion debt limit increase to preserve his reelection, we have breached the new ceiling. In just 519 days, we’ve burned through $2.1 trillion in debt, for a total federal debt of $16.394 trillion. Will Republicans grant him another lifeline through the end of his second term?
We are on the cusp of repeating the timeless mistake of raising taxes in exchange for notional spending cuts, or perhaps, not spending cuts at all. We are also on the cusp of raising the debt limit yet again. At the very least, we should admit that the debt deal of 2011 was a failure, so as not to repeat the same insanity.
Since we ‘solved’ our nation’s debt crisis last August, we’ve accrued over $4 billion in new debt per day, over $168 million per hour. The amazing thing is that revenue has actually increased over the past fiscal year relative to the previous few years. Yet we are still having this national conversation about raising taxes on a handful of millionaires, a proposition that would only net enough revenue to cover no more than 2 weeks of debt, even according to a static analysis that fails to account for economic effects of the tax increase.
Obama earns the distinction of racking up $5.77 trillion in gross debt since taking office, with three weeks left until the end of his first term. By comparison, Bush accrued $4.9 trillion in debt during his full eight year tenure. Also, remember that 91% of the increase in debt over the past four years has come from the public share, which now stands at $11.546 trillion.
If this is what it means to win 98% of what we want from a negotiation, I’d hate to see what happens when we get almost nothing. It looks like we’re about to find out.