(please scroll down for the update)
In the wake of a miserable SOTU address and amid cantankerous primary posturing, please allow the CBO to drop a reality bomb on everyone:
For the fourth year in a row, Washington faces a $1 trillion-plus deficit and just servicing the nation’s debt will soon cost as much as paying for Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled. (ed. note: and which was just expanded under ObamaCare)(italics, ours: a variation on the "unexpectedly" theme we've grown so accustomed to the past few years.)
Those were two grim predictions in a 147-page report from the Congressional Budget Office, which Tuesday stepped into the 2012 campaign like some stern Aunt Cassandra — coming down from the attic to lecture the protagonists: “It’s not just the economy stupid, it’s also the debt.”
Indeed the $1.079 trillion deficit now projected for the 2012 fiscal year ending Sept. 30 is wider than what the added CBO had predicted in August, and the picture won’t substantially improve unless Congress comes to grip with changes needed in tax and spending policy.
“The CBO’s latest alarm bell couldn’t be more ominous,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). “For years, politicians from both political parties have failed to be honest with the American people about the size and scope of the debt threat. The CBO’s report today confirms that it is past time for serious leaders to put aside politics and start forging solutions.”
If you were looking for any silver linings, you are at the wrong place for the entirety of this post, at least. So, how about them jobs' numbers? From the same CBO report:
"Had that portion of the decline in the labor force participation rate since 2007 that is attributable to neither the aging of the baby boomers nor the downturn in the business cycle (on the basis of the experience in previous downturns) not occurred, the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2011 would have been about 1¼ percentage points higher than the actual rate of 8.7 percent"
Terrific. The CBO is essentially saying that the real unemployment rate is actually 10%.
So, where does that leave us? Well, it leaves us with a President who has accomplished nothing in his 3 years in office as far as addressing the debt/deficit and unemployment but instead resorts to creepy militaristic/fascist imagery as the model for national cooperative triumph in his state of the Union address.
And as for our esteemed Republican candidates, we have the architect of ObamaCare vs. an ethically-challenged candidate amidst a swirling "controversy" of how he actually felt about Reagan. Inquiring minds want to know! Yes, we realize it's the primaries and there will always be an element of "silly season" to them but forgive us for sensing a complete lack of seriousness amongst all 3 when it comes to making bold and meaningful statements as precursors to bold and meaningful action with respect to the existential threat posed by our ever-growing entitlement programs and the accompanying debt.
(UPDATE #1) : One of our faves, Chuckie Schumer (D-NY) on grave and our economic outlook... from last week: