In January 2001, CBO's baseline projections showed a cumulative surplus of $5.6 trillion for the 2002-2011 period. The actual results have differed from those projections because of subsequent policy changes, economic developments that differed from CBO's forecast, and other factors. As a result, the federal government actually ran deficits from 2002 through 2010 and will incur a deficit in 2011 as well. The cumulative deficit over the 10-year period will amount to $6.2 trillion, CBO estimates—a swing of $11.8 trillion from the January 2001 projections.
The Department of Health and Human Services will see more than $900 billion in outlays in FY2011. About $83 billion of that is discretionary spending on things like the Centers for Disease Control. Almost all of the rest is Medicare and Medicaid — the two programs that President Obama has vowed to shield from substantial reform of the sort envisioned by Rep. Paul Ryan. The other big driver of spending, as the president himself acknowledged yesterday, is Social Security, meaningful reform of which he also promises to resist.
The rising hostility seems a delayed reaction to a slow economic recovery and high unemployment. To many, China has replaced Wall Street as the villain du jour. Opposition to trade is fueled by reports that many U.S. multinational companies, sitting on huge stockpiles of cash, are reluctant to invest in the U.S. and are looking overseas, and by the fact that China has pulled out of the global slump much faster than the U.S.John Wallis, 50 years old, blames imports for the 2001 death of his 12-employee business that made small electronic prototypes for the telecommunications industry and the subsequent loss of his Chicago-area home. "Trade is fine and dandy in a scenario where everybody wins," Mr. Wallis said. But the U.S. isn't winning, he said. Mr. Wallis now works in programming and design for an international manufacturer in Rhode Island, but doubts he'll ever be able to repay debts from his old business. "Financially we've never recovered," he said.
In propping up major financial institutions, TARP provided relief from the immediate problem of frozen credit markets, according to James Gattuso, a senior fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank: "It served a critical function in terms of providing liquidity at a time that it was needed to counter a panic in financial markets," he says. Doug Elliott, a fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution, believes that without government support of financial institutions, the financial crisis would have taken on far greater proportions. "The recession we had would have been substantially worse; millions of people would have been out of work," he says.(In fairness, Kurtzleben's article also explained why critics of TARP say it was a flop. Follow this link to read the entire article.) Obama may have voted for TARP, but it was not his brainchild. He also played no integral role in crafting the legislation that created the program, so if you think that TARP rescued the economy, then don't give Obama any credit for averting a worse recession.