by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Donald Lambro laments for Human Events readers that the handful of Washington politicians willing to slow the flow of wasted taxpayer dollars have had little luck to date.
Federal spending is exploding under Barack Obama, shattering every record for budget deficits, public debt and annual expenditures. So much so that a term like “Big Government” fails to adequately define the fiscal wreckage that has occurred under his presidency.
Like the endlessly anemic economy his jobless policies have spawned, you don’t hear much, if anything, about wasteful, ineffective federal spending on the nightly news. Nor from Obama and his party — ever.
Yet the evidence of skyrocketing spending is there for all to see, growing grotesquely higher with each passing year, leaving behind mountains of economy-crushing debt for future generations to pay.
The publicly held debt — what we’ve borrowed to meet the government’s spending bills — is nearly $11 trillion. The gross federal debt — the sum total of all our borrowing and the future liabilities and benefits we’ve promised to pay — is approaching $17.9 trillion.
Throw in another $4 trillion if you want to include all state and local government debt, too.
Annual spending mushroomed to $3.6 trillion in 2014, and will rise to $3.9 trillion in fiscal 2015, then surpass $4 trillion in fiscal 2016 during Obama’s last year in office. …
… Sadly, however, there are few champions of spending reductions, outside of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. But the Democratic-run Senate, and Obama, remain his fiercest obstacles for the time being.
Other GOP lawmakers have come forward to attack a litany of forgotten, waste-ridden agencies, but have won few victories.
Sen. Tom Coburn, a country doctor from Muskogee, Oklahoma, won voter acclaim for his yearly Wastebook list that exposed one spending scandal after another. But his fiery attempts to abolish needless programs ran into a wall of political opposition from Democrats and special interests.
The last president who made a concerted effort to kill dozens of agencies and programs was Ronald Reagan, whose budget director, David Stockman, compiled a thick directory of programs that cried out to be abolished or cut back.
Yet in the end, he, too, was defeated at every turn on Capitol Hill by a bipartisan cabal of spendthrift lawmakers who fought him tooth and nail.