Good news from Jay Carney: You bet the president believes we have a spending problem... sort of

Following up on some rather — er — clumsy remarks from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Fox News Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reassured us on Monday that, hey, of course President Obama thinks we have a spending problem… but then, perhaps looking to deflect the glaringly obvious awkwardness of the Obama administration’s rapacious, debt-driving spending habits and only piddling subsequent efforts to do anything about them, pivoted to the president’s ‘crowning legislative achievement’ for cover.

Via Politico:

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that Washington does have a spending problem and the main driver of that problem is health-care costs. …

“Of course the president believes that we have a spending problem,” Carney said at a White House briefing, adding that the problem “is specifically driven by — and I think every economist worth, whose insights into this area are worth the paper on which his or her PhD is printed, would tell you that  — the principle driver, when it comes to spending, of our deficits and debt, are, is health care spending. And that’s just a fact. …

“But the fact of the matter is we need to reduce our health care costs. Funnily enough, recognizing that fact, the president took action to do just that through the Affordable Care Act, which has been scored by the CBO to significantly reduce our health care costs going forward,” he said. “Going forward, we need to do more.”

The only issues there being that, in fact, ObamaCare really isn’t doing anything to bring down health-care costs, and that the president all too clearly doesn’t believe we have a spending problem — as evidenced by his White House’s belief that they’ve pretty much got their deficit-reduction targets nailed down. WaPo reports:

In recent days, the White House has pressed the message that, if policymakers can agree on a strategy for replacing across-the-board spending cuts set to hit next month, the president will pretty much have achieved his debt-reduction goals.

“Over the last few years, Democrats and Republicans have come together and cut our deficit [over the next decade] by more than $2.5 trillion through a balanced mix of spending cuts and higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans. …

By the administration’s math, Washington needs to enact only another $1.5 trillion in 10-year savings to hit the $4 trillion target, White House economic adviser Jason Furman told reporters last week. At $1.2 trillion, the automatic cuts, known as the sequester, quite nearly fit the bill.

The problem with this scenario? It would indeed stabilize the national debt, compared with the broader economy, for the next 10 years. But the debt would fluctuate between 73 percent and 77 percent of gross domestic product, according to new projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — the highest level in U.S. history except for the period after World War II.

So, what the White House is saying is, we really needn’t worry ourselves about the upcoming $7 trillion we’re going to add to our debt over the next ten years, because President Obama has supposedly managed to reduce that number by a few trillion? Gee, thanks. As much as I’m sure the president would be appreciative if we could all just redirect our attention to immigration, gun control, climate change, and his other favorite progressive agenda items — with a blasé fiscal attitude like that, this is going to be his real legacy, via James Pethokoukis:

Image Credit: US Treasury Department