The most recent budget submitted by President Obama continues his amazing streak. Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, here is some of the data: Four years of spending of more than 24 percent of GDP, which translates into the four highest spending years since before the mid-point of the last century. A record four years of trillion-dollar plus deficits ($1.327 this year, an increase from last year). Revenues at historic lows because of an anemic recovery, including four years in a row when revenues won’t reach 16 percent of GDP. A record of more than $5 trillion in debt in a single presidential term. (During George W. Bush’s two terms, total deficit spending was $3.4 trillion.)

Jeffrey Anderson of the Weekly Standard points out that prior to Obama, our annual deficit spending had only exceeded 6 percent of GDP during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. But during Obama’s four years in the White House, annual deficit spending will average 8.4 percent of GDP (the figure is higher – 9.1 percent – if you count 2009, which some argue you should because Obama’s $800 billion stimulus passed in February).

These numbers are important, but they need to be understood above all as a manifestation of a particular philosophy, which some have called reactionary liberalism. Barack Obama has an almost undiluted attachment for and belief in the wondrous powers of the federal government. He believes the role of the state is to redistribute wealth and level out differences. He would trade off greater prosperity in all classes and income brackets in order to narrow the gap in income inequality, which he considers to be a moral offense. Obama wants to punish wealth creators, empower unelected bureaucrats, undermine private enterprise and centralize power.

Beyond even that, Obama wants government to weaken, and eventually replace, civil society, create greater dependency, and expand the state’s reach into every nook and cranny of life, including into the internal life of the church. And at a time when Medicare in particular is driving us toward a Greece-like crisis, the president opposes any modernization of our entitlement state and savages those who are offering up reforms.

More than any president in our lifetime, Barack Obama identifies the state with society and wants society absorbed by the state.

This is what is at the heart of the progressive project, and leading that project in the 21st century is the president of the United States. It is quite a thing to behold.


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