- - Friday, October 10, 2014
The deficit is down, so President Obama is congratulating himself for a job well done. “All kinds of good stuff is happening,” the president said last week. “I mean, we have cut our deficit by more than half.”

At $486 billion, the deficit has indeed declined, but from the $1.4 trillion peak achieved in Mr. Obama’s stimulus-fueled first year in office. He can hardly celebrate cutting in half what he first tripled. Today’s deficit is still higher than it was in George W.’s last year in office. In fact, Mr. Obama’s cumulative deficits add up to $3.5 trillion more than the 2008 level of deficits.

Credit for this year’s not-as-bad-as-it-could-be news goes to the modest slowdown in spending growth, the result of the sequestration and House Speaker John A. Boehner’s insistence on modest spending restraint. Sequestration is not an honest way to get spending under control, but it was all that was available to the Republicans. Tax increases have further increased the flow of cash into the Treasury at the expense of economic growth.