Finger-pointing is in full swing, but the reality is that the Supercommittee’s failure to come to an agreement on spending reductions is just one chapter in a very long story–the story of the Democratic Party’s absolute refusal to come to grips with the country’s fiscal crisis. Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have produced this helpful time line, with links to supporting documentation. The story of the Democrats’ ongoing malfeasance needs to be better understood:
January 25 – In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposes freezing “annual domestic spending for the next five years.” This freeze would lock in elevated spending levels (24 percent non-defense discretionary, not including stimulus) and produce an estimated $3.8 trillion in deficits over the period in question. Subsequent analysis revealed that, because the White House shifted and hid new spending, non-defense discretionary spending would actually increase even further next year.
April 11 – Press Secretary Jay Carney: “We should move quickly to raise the debt limit and we support a clean piece of legislation to do that.”
April 13 – President Obama delivers a speech where he lays out a “framework” that he claims will lead to $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10–12 years. In reality, using OMB’s own numbers, deficits under the “framework” are $3.2 trillion higher than the president’s own fiscal commission.
April 15 – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passes its budget, which cuts $6 trillion in comparison to the President’s budget.
April 19 – S&P assigns a negative outlook to the U.S. credit rating, signaling at least a one-in-three likelihood that the agency will lower the nation’s long-term rating.
May 1 – Total federal spending since President Obama took office reaches approximately $8 trillion.
May 11 – Austan Goolsbee, chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, says it is “quite insane” to tie spending cuts to the debt limit increase.
May 17 – Chairman Conrad continues to delay the unveiling of his latest secret budget, announcing that “I’ll say something later — not today, probably… There are a lot of conversations under way.”
May 18 – Majority Leader Reid says it would be “foolish” for Senate Democrats to offer a budget.
May 19 – Chairman Conrad announces he will not reveal a budget to the public until after the Gang of Six produces a proposal.
May 25 – The Senate rejects President Obama’s budget by a vote of 0-97.
May 23 – Senator Schumer, when asked why there is no alternative to the House-passed budget, answers, “To put other budgets out there is not the point.”
May 26 – GOP Senators join Ranking Member Sessions in asking Reid not to break for the Memorial Day recess until Senate Democrats bring forward a budget so the Senate can fulfill its duty.
June 7 – Even some Senate Democrats become anxious about their party’s lack of a budget.
June 29 – Chairman Conrad tells Politico, “Senate Democrats have reached an agreement on a plan — just now — and we’ll be putting that out sometime soon.” (Note: the plan was never made public, but a leaked outline revealed that it contained as many as $2 in tax hikes for $1 in spending cuts.)
June 29 – Sessions renews call for the Senate to remain in town to deal with its budget and debt ceiling work.
July 1 – Sessions and Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch ask the president to reveal, in detail, what his deficit reduction plans actually are. No response is received, and the president’s February budget remains the only plan he has ever put on paper (thus the only plan that can be estimated by CBO) and shared with Congress or the American people.
July 19 – Amid continuing calls for the president to reveal what spending cuts he actually supports, Carney says that “leadership is not proposing a plan for the sake of having it voted up or down…”
July 22 – At a press conference discussing his position on negotiating a debt limit increase, President Obama declares, “The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.”
August 2 – Following passage of the debt limit increase package in the Senate, President Obama calls for America to “live within our means” immediately before advocating a further increase in government spending, framed, as usual, as “investments.”
August 3 – Government borrowing tops 100 percent of GDP as the U.S. accumulates $4 trillion in gross debt under President Obama, well above the 90-percent threshold identified by economists Rogoff and Reinhart as when debt harms economic growth and brings down job creation.
August 5 – S&P downgrades the U.S.’ credit rating from AAA, the first time the nation has had less than the top rating since receiving it in 1917.
September 8 – Shortly after the passage of the debt limit deal and the spending cuts that went with it, President Obama announces a second stimulus bill that would cost $447 billion. CBO later admits that stimulus spending depresses long-term economic growth.
September 18 – President Obama unveils a deficit reduction plan that he claims will reduce deficits by $3 trillion through a combination of tax increases, war savings, and other spending cuts. But a Budget Committee analysis reveals that, thanks to a number of budget gimmicks, the plan would reduce deficits by only $1.4 trillion and would rely entirely on tax increases.
October 14 – 900 days pass since Senate Democrats last offered a budget plan.
November 7 – The Congressional Budget Office reports that total federal spending increased in Fiscal Year 2011 by $145 billion over the previous year’s level.
November 9 – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claims that Democrats didn’t pass a budget when they controlled both chambers of Congress because “Republicans would have filibustered it,” but as she should know, budget resolutions can’t be filibustered.
November 11 – As the supercommittee continues its tense negotiations, President Obama departs for a nine-day trip to Bali, Indonesia, and Australia.
November 13 – Supercommittee member James Clyburn, the House Assistant Democratic Leader, says that a draft Democrat proposal has been outlined. A Budget Committee analysis estimates this outlined proposal to contain a dramatic tax increase-to-spending cut ratio of 4:1.
November 16 – On the 931st day since Senate Democrats offered a budget, the U.S. gross national debt tops $15 trillion.
November 21 – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chides President Obama, saying that “It’s the Chief Executive’s job to bring people together & provide leadership. I don’t see that happening [with the] #SuperCommittee”
November 22 – President Obama places multiple calls, over the course of the month, to European leaders regarding their countries’ debt problems. Meanwhile, Jay Carney says it was “absolutely not” a problem for “him not to have been as involved” with the supercommittee negotiations.
What a record! If the voters understood how the Democratic Party has blocked every effort to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, would a single Democrat be returned to Washington next November?