Sessions: Obama Budget Sets America on Unsustainable Course

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, made the following comments today regarding the Fiscal Year 2010 budget:

“Congress and the American people need to focus squarely on the president’s budget over the next three weeks. This budget is President Obama’s roadmap for where he wants to take our country, and the public must fully understand the assumptions that serve as its basis and the fundamental changes to our economy that would occur if it’s enacted.

“This budget sets the nation on a dangerous and unsustainable course. At a time when working families are saving every penny, the administration refuses to limit roaring spending. The president calls for $3.6 trillion in spending, resulting in a 20 percent growth of non-defense programs in 2010 from their 2008 levels. To pay for this breathtaking expansion of government, the budget imposes a $1.4 trillion tax increase, including a national energy tax similar to one that MIT experts predicted would cost working families $3,100 each year. Despite this striking tax increase, the budget requires even more unprecedented borrowing, doubling the debt held by the public in five years and tripling it in 10. Under this plan, starting in 2012 the United States will pay $1 billion a day in interest to our creditors, the largest being China and Japan. In short, the budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.

“The administration promised that this budget would be free of accounting tricks, but they have failed to meet that standard. On the one hand, the president reminds us that we face the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression. On the other, his budget assumes that unemployment will not rise beyond today’s level and economic growth will not substantially fall. While I do not buy the rhetoric of imminent economic collapse, few if any economists agree with the budget’s prediction that unemployment will stay at 8.1 percent or that GDP will decrease by only 1.2 percent. The administration’s rosy economic picture permits them to assume greater tax revenues, which means more money to spend. But when those projections prove to be off the mark—as we know they will—the result is even greater deficits and even more debt.

“We are in a precarious situation. Our government has engaged in a series of unwise interventions in the economy. Trillions of dollars have flowed from the Treasury’s coffers. We are expecting a $1.8 trillion deficit this year. We are controlling the affairs of private companies, and we are starting to understand that doing so creates a new set of problems, as is the case with AIG. The public has watched with increasing mortification as the interferences and spending have begun to erode our nation’s heritage of liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.

“The budget is an opportunity to reverse that course, but I fear this proposal represents a further lurch in the wrong direction. We need an honest evaluation of our situation, and we need to be willing to make the disciplined and tough decisions necessary to right this ship. I look forward to working with my colleagues to do that, but if bipartisanship means changing the legal and economic order or breaking from the great civic traditions of limited government and free enterprise that—through good times and bad—have formed the moral basis of the American dream, count me out.”