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A banana republic by 2012?

[[banana]]

President Obama has presented the most irresponsible budget in US history.  His fiscal year 2010 budget projects federal spending of $3.5 trillion and a federal deficit of $1.75 trillion. In other words, 50 percent of the government’s budget consists of red ink.

And Americans are angry that sub-prime borrowers took mortgages they couldn’t afford.

The bald fact is that the US government is going to have to borrow--or print--half of the money it intends to spend in Obama’s first budget. This fact has fallen through the cracks as New York Times headlines proclaim “A Bold Plan Sweeps Away Reagan Ideas.”  It certainly does sweep away Reagan ideas.  No Reagan budget ever presumed that the federal government could borrow half of its annual expenditures. Indeed, Obama’s budget deficit for 2010 alone exceeds the totality of “Reagan Deficits” for Reagan’s two terms of office.

As presidential budgets are marketing devices rather than financial statements, they are imbued with optimistic assumptions.  Obama’s budget is based on optimistic assumptions about the extent of decline in GDP.  A more realistic projection of GDP decline would reveal that Obama’s budget is the first since World War II in which more than half of the government’s expenditures must be financed by red ink. I suspect that the red ink component of the FY 2010 budget will surpass World War II budgets.

To whom can the US government turn for $1.75 trillion for FY 2010, on top of $1.2 trillion for FY 2009? 

Not to taxpayers. Obama’s net tax increase comes to $170 billion over 10 years, or $17 billion a year, a drop in the bucket.  A supply-side economist could have told him that not even these paltry revenues will be realized.

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Not to private savers. Americans are over their heads in debts.

Not to foreigners. Thanks to Clinton/Bush financial deregulation and Wall Street and bankster greed, the rest of the world is in financial turmoil and hasn’t $1.75 trillion in savings to lend.  Possibly, the stock market will collapse further, and whatever remaining wealth Americans have will flow into “safe” US Treasuries. 

The only other alternative is the printing press. Printing press finance would destroy the dollar as reserve currency and ignite high inflation. The US would be unable to pay for its imports, and Americans whose incomes do not rise with the rate of inflation would be plowed under.

Military Budget

This prospect is not a “war on terror” scare tactic like “anthrax,” “weapons of mass destruction,” “al Qaeda connections,” and “Iranian nukes.” 

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The economic catastrophe that the US faces is very real.  But there is no awareness of this reality in Obama’s budget.  The crux of Obamanomics is the assumption that the economy can run forever on consumer loans, if we can just get the banks to lend, and the federal government can run forever on loans from China, Japan,and Saudi Arabia.

Obama is requesting $130 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2010 plus a $75 billion supplemental  request for the wars during 2009. This $205 billion is on top of $534 billion for the Pentagon in 2010, for total military spending of $739 billion. 

The Chinese government’s budget shows China’s military spending at $59 billion in 2008.  (The Pentagon claims Chinese military spending is between $97 billion and $139 billion.)  Russia’s military spending in 2009 is projected to be about $50 billion. 

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http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His books, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available (more...)
 

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