Europe is in bad shape, there’s no doubt about it. The sovereign debt crisis continues to roil the continent, Greece may leave the euro, Spain may have to revise its budget deficit upward for the second time because of bad loans, and France has a new socialist president pledging more spending instead of austerity. So when the G8 leaders met last week, President Obama had some words of advice to offer — “Look at me and learn from my stellar example!”
OK, that’s a paraphrase, but his actual words aren’t all that much different. No joke, the president who has presided over a downgraded credit rating, three years without a budget, an exploding deficit, an entitlement system desperately in need of reform, and an unemployment rate still over 8 percent has painted himself as a model for others to follow.
Quite remarkably, the president bragged that he has worked to “bring down our deficits and debt over the longer term” while staying “focused on growing the economy and creating jobs in the immediate term.” Though he acknowledges that “Of course, we still have a lot of work to do,” he says that now there’s “room to take a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and debt, while preserving our investments in the drivers of growth and job creation over the long term — education, innovation, and infrastructure for the 21st century.”
In other words, because of his supposed successes, America can afford to spend even more money on stimulus.
It’s hard to say whether the president’s intended audience was the leaders of the G8 or the American electorate, but regardless of who it was, there’s not much for Obama to brag about.
In the past four years, unemployment has gone up, more people are unemployed longer, gas prices are higher, the cost of health care insurance has increased, the national debt is higher, federal spending has increased, more Americans are on food stamps, regulatory costs are higher, home values have declined, America’s economic recovery is historically slow, and while federal spending on education has increased, results remain flat. You can see for yourself just how bad America’s fiscal outlook is in Heritage’s 2012 edition of the Federal Budget in Pictures.
Though Europe needs solutions, they certainly shouldn’t be looking at President Obama for the answers.