With three months to go in the federal fiscal year, the government's spending deficit topped $1 trillion last week. Analysts predicted the shortfall would total $1.3 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.
At slightly less than last year's $1.4 trillion in deficit spending, that would not be a record. Still, it is evidence the government's pace of spending beyond its means is not really slackening.
That is more than disturbing. It is frightening, in a very real way, because it demonstrates a lack of willpower in Washington to stop digging the already-deep debt hole facing Americans.
Consider this: This week, the national debt stood at about $13.1 trillion. That means about one-fifth of the total debt has been built up during just the past two years.
President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress vow to do something about deficit spending. Unfortunately, they have: They have increased the pace while conservatives of both major political parties try in vain to prevent a fiscal train wreck.
If you doubt that, consider Obama's own projection for next year: He expects nearly $1.3 trillion in deficit spending then. Another $8.5 trillion in debt is expected to be added during the next 10 years.
One of the co-chairmen of the national commission Obama appointed to study the debt put the situation succinctly: Erskine Bowles said during the weekend that the "debt is like a cancer. It is going to destroy the country from within."
Precisely. We can only hope the commission is able to stir public opinion on the debt to the point that politicians no longer can ignore it.