After 16 months and hundreds of billions in debt-financed “stimulus” spending, President Barack Obama is still pushing for more public borrowing to prop up demand, both here and abroad.
Translation: Spend, baby, spend.
But fewer and fewer people are buying it this time.
In Britain, the new government reburied Keynes last week, choosing budget austerity over further stimulus. Germany rebuffed Obama’s requests to keep priming the pump (link requires subscription). The European Union’s economic affairs chief wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he “cannot but disagree” with the push for more deficit spending.
Getting debt lectures from Europe, the continent that already has brought us the Greek bailout and riots? That’s like leaving it to Lindsay Lohan to tell you to lay off the sauce for a while.
At home, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen, said last week that our national debt is the greatest threat to our security, noting that interest payments on the debt will soon rival our annual defense budget.
In the Senate, Obama’s request for another $100 billion for another “temporary,” “emergency,” I-promise-this-is-the-last-time “jobs” bill fell flat. The measure would have sent tens of billions more to state governments to keep saving the jobs already classified as “saved” by the $862 billion stimulus.
Maybe the stimulus trackers should refer to jobs as saved, created or “merely reprieved” from now on.
Rejection in Toronto would only cap what was already another lousy week for the president: never-ending oil spill, check; illegal-immigrant-amnesty dispute, check; loose-lipped general, check.
But instead of asking whose [bleep] to kick this time, perhaps Obama should listen.
The Europeans, who are even further down the road to debt and government dependence than we are, are essentially saying we all need to stop while we still can.
Britain’s ratio of public debt to gross domestic product is 79 percent; Germany’s, 80 percent; Greece’s, 124 percent.
America’s is at 60 percent and rising fast. We don’t need to wait till we reach continental levels of debt before turning around.
Whatever the merits of deficit spending at the nadir of a recession — and they are debatable at best — trying to buy recovery with taxpayers’ billions can only go on for so long. The gains are only temporary because the money is a loan from the future, not a gift.
We’ve already dragged too much economic activity from the future into the present. The more sales of cars or houses or whatever we borrow from the future, the longer we delay the real recovery.
It’s still possible that, before leaving Toronto, the G-20 leaders will humor Obama and agree to a small mention of stimulus in a communiqué that they’ll stuff in finance-ministry file cabinets shortly after it’s communicated.
If so, don’t be fooled. Government balance sheets are over-stimulated. It just may be that the occupant of the White House is the last person to realize it.