We are now in the fourth year of Barack Obama’s presidency. His most significant accomplishment, by my lights, is in the realm of fiscal policy, where he has broken record after record. Unfortunately, the records he has broken are not ones any American should welcome or celebrate. In fact, thanks to his reckless spending, we are up to our necks in debt.
This is not what Barack Obama promised us when we elected him President. On Feb. 23, 2009, he spoke at a gathering entitled (ironically, in retrospect) the Fiscal Responsibility Summit. His words there could not in any way be misconstrued. “Today,” he said, “I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office.”
Here we are, approaching his four-year mark, and where is the deficit now?
Far from cutting it in half, Barack Obama missed his target by no small sum: the deficit is half a trillion dollars higher than he promised it would be by now, give or take a few nickels and dimes. In fact, in every year of his presidency, he has run a deficit that exceeds $1 trillion. That translates into an additional $5 trillion added to the national debt, bringing the total on the national debt clock to an astounding $15 trillion and ticking upward.
Thus we have witnessed the costliest broken promise in all of American history.
Now that we are in the middle of an election season, it’s worth recalling that candidate Obama criticized President Bush for his deficit spending. He attacked him for, as he put it, “taking out a credit card from the Bank of China.” In fact, then-Sen. Obama said that the $4 trillion added to the debt under President Bush was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.”
It was shameful of Barack Obama to question President Bush’s patriotism. But now that he has made his own contribution to the national debt — adding $5 trillion to what we owe on our nation’s credit card to the Bank of China — his comments about President Bush appear as a withering self-indictment.
If the nation has gone on a spending spree, one could at least hope that our taxpayer dollars were invested in something worthwhile. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Under President Obama, we have seen one mindlessly wasteful program after the next, both on a large and small scale.
At the smaller end of the scale are a string of wasted taxpayer dollars from frolicking at GSA conventions to bankrupt “green energy” companies like Solyndra that took taxpayer dollars with them to their financial grave.
On the larger end of the scale is President Obama’s economic stimulus, the nearly $1 trillion that he claimed would keep unemployment under 8 percent and that by now, mid-2012, would have the economy booming with a 5.6 percent unemployment rate. Instead, the economy is scarcely growing and the jobless rate is stuck at 8.2 percent. That gap of 2.6 percentage points represents more than 8 million Americans that Barack Obama promised would have jobs today who remain unemployed.
Looking back at this presidency decades from now, one suspects that future historians will remark on Barack Obama’s penchant for breaking promises. And they will record it as a major factor in making him a one-term President.
Beverly Bruce is the New Hampshire state finance chair of Mitt Romney for President.