The federal government celebrated the month of May by charging almost $166 billion to the national credit card. The $165.9 billion deficit is the largest May deficit ever.
For those keeping score at home, the deficit in the first eight months of this fiscal year is $319.4 billion, more than double the $148.5 billion deficit in the first eight months of last year.
I think its fair to say that this Congress and this President have proven that there is only one thing they are capable of doing well: spending money they don’t have. In that endeavor, they are unsurpassed by any Congress and President in American history.
Fiscal ’08 is shaping up to be an unparalleled orgy of deficit spending. Revenues over the first eight months of the year are essentially flat from last year, but spending has rocketed up 9.7%.
There are lots of pigs at the trough. Military spending over the first eight months of the year is 12.8% higher than the corresponding period last year. Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services is up 5.8%. Social Security expenditures are up 7.1%. My personal favorite, interest payments on the existing national debt, are up 4.6% (totalling $266.3 billion in the first eight months of the year).
Some $48 billion in “economic stimulus” checks were mailed out last month, and put on our children’s tab. This particular item of irresponsible spending is most notable in that its purpose is to induce citizens to also spend irresponsibly.
So how did Congress react to this sobering news of budgetary shortfalls? Predictably, by whipping out the credit card. Yesterday, the House, by an overwhelming margin, passed a $13.7 billion bill that extends unemployment benefits from the current 26 weeks, to as much as a year. This on the heels of the multi-billion dollar housing bill, on the heels of a $300 “farm bill”, on the heels of yet another “emergency” Iraq spending measure.
We are on pace to the largest budget deficit in history. Unfortunately, there is probably only one way this story can end.
OK, I promise that tomorrow I’ll write about something else for a change.
Grace and Peace.