Victor Davis Hanson | The Anecdotal Presidency

Every day of his first term, Barack Obama has overseen $3 billion per day in borrowing, which has added at least $5 trillion to the national debt— with trillions more still to be borrowed. The extraordinary figure is largely a result of unprecedented federal spending. The first 42 presidents ran up about one-third of the present $16 trillion in aggregate debt; George W. Bush in eight years nearly matched their total; and Barack Obama, before his first term is even completed, has already trumped Bush’s total and accounted for the final third of the national debt.

Obama’s current trajectory is not sustainable, and yet the president has not proposed spending cuts that would reduce the annual deficits in any meaningful way. Like Louis XIV, the Sun King, he knows that his spending is bankrupting his country and, if unchecked, will destroy generations to follow — and yet he knows even more strongly that he cannot quit. Instead, he fixates on upping the top rates on the 2 percent who currently pay over 40 percent of all federal income-tax revenues; his proposed hikes, however, would add only $80 or $90 billion in additional revenue, or about 8 percent of the aggregate borrowing each year. Additional income might derive from suggested changes in the nature of deductions, and from raises in capital-gains and inheritance taxes, but would supply only a fraction of what is needed to balance the budget.


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