Potomac fever has no remedy. Its primary symptom is an irresistible attraction to Washington’s corridors of power. Those who fall prey to the malady, whether liberal or conservative, will do anything to stay in office. That usually means spending more of the public’s money, which is why the budgetary thermometer is rising so fast it’s about to burst.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., for example, is responsible for a big spike in spending. Last month, the purportedly conservative jurist sided with the liberal end of the bench to save Obamacare. According to a Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday, the decision penned by Justice Roberts will cost taxpayers $1.7 trillion in spending and $514 billion in new taxes over the next decade. A balanced budget was obviously not on his mind.
Nor has it been for President Obama, who has boosted the national debt 50 percent since his inauguration. The former community organizer has borrowed more money in three-and-a-half years than President George W. Bush did in eight. Americans now owe $15.9 trillion.
In 2010, voters made it clear they didn’t like Mr. Obama’s “stimulus” spending spree and handed Republicans decisive control of the House. Unfortunately, not one dime has been cut since that election. Instead, outlays are up $24 billion so far this year. In large part, that’s because the GOP majority has fallen into the deadly rhetorical trap of baseline math. This Washington gimmick enables public-sector unions to bemoan “draconian cuts” when the budget goes up, not down.