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Obama Budget Projects Never Ending Rise In National Debt


Despite the budget cuts and tax increases in the Administration's new budget plan, federal spending and indebtedness will continue to rise as far as the eye can see.

The federal deficit this year spikes to $1.75-trillion dollars – by far the largest in U.S. history. In fact, the deficit this year is larger than the entire federal budget just ten years ago when all government outlays amounted to $1.70-trillion.

The new budget reflects President Obama's commitment to cut the annual federal deficit in half by the end of his term in office. Starting next year, the yearly deficit is projected to decrease from $1.1-trillion to $533-billion in the year 2013.

But – if you check the very last chart in the budget book, it shows the National Debt continuing to soar year after year after year.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
As of today, it's $10.8-trillion. The administration projects it'll climb to $14-trillion next year and in 2013 wind up at $17.1-trillion dollars – very close to matching the size of the entire economy as measured by the projected Gross Domestic Product. And taxpayers will be paying hundreds of billions in interest on the debt each year.

The budget, which carries the title "A New Era of Responsibility," shows that at the end of ten years, the National Debt will hit $23.1-trillion dollars – exactly matching the GDP that year.

In his budget message, Mr. Obama explains that "our problems are rooted in past mistakes."

"We arrived at this point as a result of an era of profound irresponsibility," taking an unmistakable swipe at the budget policies of his immediate predecessor. And in his remarks to his Summit on Financial Responsibility on Monday, he went still further.

"For too long, our budget process in Washington has been an exercise in deception -- a series of accounting tricks to hide the extent of our spending and the shortfalls in our revenue and hope that the American people won't notice: budgeting certain expenditures for just one year, when we know we'll incur them every year for five or 10; budgeting zero dollars for the Iraq war -- zero -- for future years, even when we knew the war would continue; budgeting no money for natural disasters, as if we would ever go 12 months without a single flood, fire, hurricane or earthquake."

That attack was too much for one time White House spokesman Tony Fratto to bear in silence. He served President Bush as deputy press secretary and as a spokesman in the Budget Office and Treasury Department.

He calls the Obama Administration's budget "the height of audacity."

Speaking for himself, Fratto charges the current White House is trying to "mask huge spending increases under the cloak of 'fiscal responsibility.'" And he rejects the current president's charge that the previous Administration's budgets were full of hidden numbers and omissions.

"Our budgets were honest, open, and transparent. Every dime spent was presented, debated, voted on, and counted," said Fratto in a statement e-mailed to CBS News.

And he defended the Bush White House practice of putting war spending in "supplemental" appropriations bills.

"(It) was done to avoid permanently baking those appropriations into the Defense Department's baseline budget. That's good budgeting, not a 'gimmick.'".

Until now, Mr. Bush ran up the biggest deficits and the largest amount of National Debt in U.S. history. The National Debt increased $4.9-trillion on his watch. The new budget plan shows the title of biggest spender will fall to Mr. Obama.

If his numbers prove true, the debt will have soared $6.3-trillion during his term. Double it if he wins a second term.

More Coverage Of The Budget:

  • Obama Budget Lays Out "Hard Choices"

  • Obama's Budget In A Nutshell

  • Obama's Budget Request Takes Aim At Republicans

  • Obama: "We Have To Focus On Foundations"

  • Unemployment Targeted At 8%

  • Obama Seeks $634 Billion For Health Care

  • Read The Full Budget (PDF)>

  • (CBS)
    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.