- The largest budget in American history - roughly $3.7 trillion vs. roughly $3.5 trillion in 2010.
- The largest deficit in American history - roughly $1.6 trillion vs. roughly $1.4 trillion in 2009.
So how do our politicians claim that this was the biggest spending cut in history? They use Washington math, where programs are always expected to expand and some programs are not counted in the budgetary numbers.
Both parties are to blame for this mess. The Democrats seemed unwilling to discuss any "cuts" more than those passed; the Republicans seemed unwilling to discuss cuts in anything but the programs they selected. If I had the opportunity to vote, I would have held firm on the $61 billion number but made clear that we could negotiate where the $61 billion in cuts could come from. If we are to reinstate responsible budgets, we must first establish our priorities (i.e., paying off the debt) and not let personal pet programs prevent us from reaching budgetary agreements.
Nonetheless, I encourage everyone to congratulate those who held firm to their principles in the debate.
The argument will now shift to raising the debt limit and the 2012 budget. I fail to see how any member of Congress would be able to reconcile voting for the 2011 budget without also supporting raising the debt limit, at least to get us through the end of FY 2011. Thus, I expect the real issue will be the 2012 budget. We can only hope that these same Congressmen will take a more serious look at the country's financial position before approving another $1.5+ trillion deficit. Failure to do so will mean that our debt will approach 110% of our GDP prior to our next election. If we do not get our next election right, our country will likely experience the same collapse that is currently occurring in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain.