(Beltway Confidential) — Earlier, Conn Carroll posted a chart from the Congressional Budget Office that clearly shows spending, not insufficient tax revenue, is the driver of our long-term debt problems. But using CBO data, we can go a bit further. It turns out that even if we brought tax revenues back to the historically high levels that existed at the end of the Clinton era, we’d still wind up with unsustainable deficits using the White House’s own definition of “sustainable.”
In 2000, the last full-year of President Clinton’s administration, tax revenues were 20.6 percent of GDP, according to the CBO. (The White House Office of Management and Budget puts it slightly higher, at 20.9 percent, which places it in a tie with 1944 for the highest ever level in U.S. history). But the CBO’s long-term fiscal outlook released yesterday predicts that by 2035, total spending will reach a stunning 33.9 percent of GDP if lawmakers pursue their predictable course. That means even if revenues returned to the coveted pre-Bush tax cut levels, there would be a 13 percent difference.
Yet President Obama’s former OMB director Peter Orszag has written that, “a sustainable level is more like 3 percent (of GDP) or lower.” So that would put the deficits, even with Clinton-era revenues, at more than four times their sustainable levels. (article)
(ABC News) — First lady Michelle Obama today said her global advocacy on behalf of women and young people gives her a personal stake in her husband’s re-election, and that she eagerly awaits the coming campaign.
“I think there’s so much more work to do. We’ve really just begun to lay the foundation,” Obama told ABC News’ David Muir in a wide-ranging interview in Cape Town, South Africa, where she’s on a weeklong trip to promote youth leadership, education and political and cultural exchanges.
“I’m passionate about these issues. I want to make sure there’s a footing in them in the same way that my husband does,” she said. “So, more time would be helpful.”
“So you like the job?” Muir asked.
“I love the job, I do. I love people and I like having a positive impact,” she said.
As for relentless criticism of President Obama and his handling of the job, including from some Democratic corners, the first lady said she follows her husband’s lead.
“He’s so good at understanding that you just keep building, you don’t keep looking back, you don’t keep checking polls, you keep doing the work that needs to get done,” Obama told Muir. “That’s why I like him as my president, because he is really focused on doing what he thinks is the best thing to do even when it’s hard.” (read article)