Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook 3 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 38 (42 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   No comments

General News

Bush vs. Obama on Spending: It's No Contest

By       Message Roger Shuler     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 7/27/11

- Advertisement -

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

The No. 1 Republican talking point these days seems to be this: Profligate spending by President Barack Obama is the reason we face a debt-ceiling crisis.

Any rational, reasonably well informed citizen should know that is not true. But prominent GOPers still chant it like a mantra. God only knows how many otherwise sane Americans are starting to believe it.

That's why a chart in Monday's New York Times should be sent to every household in the US of A. It shows, in clear, indisputable numbers, that policy decisions by Republican president George W. Bush led to spending that dwarfs financial outlays under Obama. (See the chart at the end of this post.)

In fact, the cost of just the Bush tax cuts ($1.8 trillion) exceeds the costs of all spending under Obama ($1.4 trillion).

The final tally--$5.07 trillion of spending under Bush, $1.44 trillion under Obama. By the way, those figures for Obama are projections from 2009 to 2017. In other words, both presidents are being judged in eight-year time frames. And Bush "wins" the spending contest in a runaway.

- Advertisement -

If my math is correct, spending under Bush was more than three times greater than that under Obama. Yet we still get bilge like this from the blog of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA): "President Obama Refuses To Acknowledge That His Out Of Control Spending Sparked A Debt Crisis."

In a piece titled "The Chart That Should Accompany All Discussions of the Debt Ceiling," James Fallows of The Atlantic explains why the Times' graphic handiwork is so important:

It's based on data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Its significance is not partisan (who's "to blame" for the deficit) but intellectual. It demonstrates the utter incoherence of being very concerned about a structural federal deficit but ruling out of consideration the policy that was the largest single contributor to that deficit, namely the Bush-era tax cuts.

The chart is titled "Policy Changes Under Two Presidents," and Fallows says it is called that for a reason:

- Advertisement -

An additional significance of the chart: It identifies policy changes, the things over which Congress and Administration have some control, as opposed to largely external shocks--like the repercussions of the 9/11 attacks or the deep worldwide recession following the 2008 financial crisis. Those external events make a big difference in the deficit, and they are the major reason why deficits have increased faster in absolute terms during Obama's first two years than during the last two under Bush. (In a recession, tax revenues plunge, and government spending goes up--partly because of automatic programs like unemployment insurance, and partly in a deliberate attempt to keep the recession from getting worse.) If you want, you could even put the spending for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in this category: Those were policy choices, but right or wrong they came in response to an external shock.

The point is that governments can respond to but not control external shocks. That's why we call them "shocks." Governments can control their policies. And the policy that did the most to magnify future deficits is the Bush-era tax cuts. You could argue that the stimulative effect of those cuts is worth it ("deficits don't matter" etc). But you cannot logically argue that we absolutely must reduce deficits, but that we absolutely must also preserve every penny of those tax cuts. Which I believe precisely describes the House Republican position.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Boy Scouts and the Horrors of Their "Perversion Files"

Bush vs. Obama on Spending: It's No Contest

Why Is Karl Rove Planning to Visit the Backwoods of Alabama?

What's the Real Story Behind Karl Rove's Divorce?

Is "Morning Joe" Scarborough a Murderer?

Rove Might Be Trying To "Pull A Siegelman" With Julian Assange