I must be getting old. I can recall the days when an annual federal deficit of $223 billion was enough to send Democrats screaming to cable news shows about the profligacy of George W. Bush and his ruinous economic policies. That seems so quaint these days as the Obama administration posts a record $223 billion deficit — for a single month:
The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February at $223 billion, according to preliminary numbers the Congressional Budget Office released Monday morning.
That figure tops last February’s record of $220.9 billion, and marks the 29th straight month the government has run in the red — a modern record. The last time the federal government posted even a monthly surplus was September 2008, just before the financial collapse.
The worst part is that this happened in the shortest month of the year. Shouldn’t that make it more difficult to achieve?
One might think that this would make everyone more serious about looking for opportunities to cut spending. According to The Hill, some people like holding Guinness records:
The hard-charging House majority will be faced with a historic choice this month: Compromise with President Obama, or roll the dice and shut down the government.
Where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his 87 Republican freshmen draw the line on spending will shape the entire 112th Congress. For now, the GOP and Obama are about $50 billion apart — and the clock is ticking.
Yes, the suspense is riveting, isn’t it? If we put together the proposal from the GOP for cuts to the budget and added the total dollar value of the budget cuts proposed by Democrats, we’d get $72 billion in reductions over the next six months. That would amount to about one-third of the deficit from last month.
We’re facing “historic choices,” all right, but so far neither party has gotten historically serious about addressing them. The Republican cuts in this year are inadequate, but the very notion that Democrats won’t go any farther than $10 billion in cuts with monthly deficits surpassing $220 billion is not just inadequate, but insane.
Cato puts the entire issue into perspective in this video: