A quick review, and a discussion to follow
The Bush Tax Cuts and War Costs Did Lasting Harm
Some commentators blame recent legislation -- the stimulus bill and the financial rescues of the big banks etc. -- for today's record deficits. Yet those costs pale in comparison to the costs of tax cuts (for the rich) and war, which have greatly swollen our deficits. The policies behind these costs may be less conspicuous now, because many were enacted years ago and they have long since been absorbed into the budget projections of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other organizations, but they are still of primary importance if we are to accurately and truthfully assess blame for the current state of our economy (as it is experienced by most Americans).
It is important to realize that just two policies dating from the Bush Administration -- tax cuts for the rich and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for almost $7 trillion in deficits between 2009 and 2019, if the associated debt-service costs are included, as they certainly must be.
In addition, the prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 accounts for further substantial increases in deficits and debt.
These impacts easily dwarf the stimulus and financial rescues attempted by the Obama administration
Unlike the temporary costs of these rescue attempts, the policies inherited from the previous (Bush) administration (the tax cuts, war costs, and drug benefits) do not fade away as the economy recovers. Therefore, without the economic downturn stemming from the mortgage meltdown, war costs, and the fiscal policies of the previous administration, the budget would be roughly in balance over the next decade. That would have put this nation on a much sounder footing to address the demographic challenges and the cost pressures in health care that now darken the long-run fiscal outlook.
( Source article)
The mortgage meltdown as a contributor to the tanking of the economy
The stability and safety of mortgage-related assets were and are ostensibly monitored by private credit rating companies. The three top firms are Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch. Each is and was supposed to issue independent, objective analysis on the financial soundness of mortgages and other debt traded on Wall Street. Millions of investors relied on these analyses in deciding whether to invest in debt instruments like mortgage-backed securities (MBSs).