Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Insightful historians likely will someday argue that George W. Bush oversaw the most disastrous administration in American history.
More evidence to support that claim came over the weekend from Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery. In a piece titled "Running in the Red: How the U.S., on the Road to Surplus, Detoured to Massive Debt," Montgomery shows how choices made shortly after Bush took office turned the Clinton surpluses into record deficits.
Montgomery provides perhaps the most concise description yet of the events that led to an economic calamity in which we still are mired. And many Americans remain clueless about how we got here.
Polls show that a large majority of Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation's budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.
The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That's nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years.