Boskin on the Obama Budget
The CBO baseline cumulative deficit for the Obama 2010-2019 budget is $9.3 trillion. How much additional deficit and debt does Mr. Obama add relative to a do-nothing budget with none of his programs? Mr. Obama's "debt difference" is $4.829 trillion -- i.e., his tax and spending proposals add $4.829 trillion to the CBO do-nothing baseline deficit. The Obama budget also adds $177 billion to the fiscal year 2009 budget. To this must be added the $195 billion of 2009 legislated add-ons (e.g., the stimulus bill) since Mr. Obama's election that were already incorporated in the CBO baseline and the corresponding $1.267 trillion in add-ons for 2010-2019. This brings Mr. Obama's total additional debt to $6.5 trillion, not his claimed $2 trillion reduction. That was mostly a phantom cut from an imagined 10-year continuation of peak Iraq war spending.
The claim to reduce the deficit by half compares this year's immense (mostly inherited) deficit to the projected fiscal year 2013 deficit, the last of his current term. While it is technically correct that the deficit would be less than half this year's engorged level, a do-nothing budget would reduce it by 84%. Compared to do-nothing, Mr. Obama's deficit is more than two and a half times larger in fiscal year 2013. Just his addition to the budget deficit, $459 billion, is bigger than any deficit in the nation's history. And the 2013 deficit is supposed to be after several years of economic recovery, funds are being returned from the financial bailouts, and we are out of Iraq.