It seems an article blaming the deficit on George W. Bush (of which I took note late Tuesday night (PST)) originated in a chart the White House developed.
Economics writers Megan McArdle was not as “enamored” with the chart as was one of her Atlantic colleagues:
. . . considering that this graph attributes decisions made by Obama and an all-Democratic Congress–like doubling down in Afghanistan–to Bush, while taking responsibility for basically nothing except the stimulus. When Obama extends the Bush tax cuts for the rich under pressure from Congressional Republicans, that disappears from his side of the ledger, because after all, he didn’t want to do it. When Bush enacts Medicare Part D under pressure from Congressional Democrats, the full cost is charged against his presidency. The list of such silliness goes on. Our president seems set to coin another presidential motto: “The duck starts here.”
Read the whole thing. (Via Instapundit.) Interesting that the White House would divert federal resources (you know those in short supply) to putting together a graphic attempting to exonerate the incumbent for the current debt crisis while passing the blame onto his predecessor.
Observing how the deficit skyrocketed from 1.6% (as a percentage of GDP) under Bush to 10% under Obama, this sage blogress asks, “What changed about Bush policies that made them so much more expensive once Barack Obama took office?”
McArdle adds that she’s not “interested in the Bush-v-Obama, red-v-blue allocation of blame, but the [White House] graph . . . was made by someone who seems very interested indeed in allocating as much blame as possible to Republicans–indeed, more interested in that than anything else.”
Wish this White House has heeded the advice of the guy who said he was “trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.“
Although I returned earlier today from my mini-vacation, I have yet to weigh in on the decision of CPAC to exclude our friends at GOProud. This is sad news indeed and a sign that some conservatives would rather dwell on trivial issues than focus on our common conservatives principles. Although, by and large, rank-and-file “movement” conservatives (particularly those born since 1960) have become increasingly welcome of their gay fellows, there still are pockets in the movement who would exclude folks like us.
And some of those pockets have considerable sway in the conservative movement today.
We here at GayPatriot share the disappointment of GOProud’s Board who released a statement earlier today:
We are deeply disappointed at the decision of the American Conservative Union to bar GOProud from participating in CPAC. They are well within their right to do so, but a decision like this will have consequences.
For the last two years, GOProud has sought to support CPAC and keep the conservative movement united. . . .
What is truly sad is that this troubling development takes place at a time when we should be united and focused on defeating Barack Obama.
It is unfortunate at this time of remarkable unity among conservatives and Republicans about the need to focus on the principles Ronald Reagan articulated throughout his political career, cutting the size of the federal government, reducing its scope, returning power to individuals and the associations they choose to join or otherwise support that some would seek to exclude an organization committed to those ideals.
We are delighted to note that a number of leading “new media” conservatives have decided to boycott CPAC as a result of the decision to exclude GOProud as Glenn Reynolds reports:
ANDREW BREITBART WILL SKIP CPAC over its GOProud ban.
Roger Simon is boycotting too. And I won’t be there either. Of course, I don’t usually go anyway.
NICK ADDS: Great to see Breitbart standing with us. The true sign, however, will be to see what Ann Coulter does.
Just caught this on Yahoo!’s homepage.
So, the Republicans just want “partisan payback.” I guess in the Yahoo! universe, Republicans are not allowed to vote down a bill on principle.
Now to the linked article:
Debate on the measure was often testy and reflected the growing frustration among lawmakers. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi pleaded for an end to “this theater of the absurd” and said “it’s time for us to get real.”
Using that line to close out the text of the article, the Associated Press suggests that the realist Pelosi is standing up to the absurdist Republicans.
(And make sure you check out the beginning of the article, noting how the author describes Reid’s plan, making it sound like a conservative approach to our nation’s spending problem. And in the caption, the plan is “Harry Reid’s debt plan,” described without adjectives while the Republicans are portrayed as vindictive partisans.)
Here’s something I can’t quite figure out:
In all the back-and-forth over the debt ceiling increase, it’s become de rigueur to demand program cuts and budget tightening now rather than in the ‘out-years’ because the cuts will never materialize. Inasmuch, we’re often told: “You can’t bind a future Congress”.
If that’s the case, then why is there such a thing as “mandatory spending”?
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
So let’s see:
House Republicans have so far put forward and passed THREE specific plans waiting now to become law.
What follows are the full texts of ALL of the plans put forward and passed by Obama and the Senate Democrats: .
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
I’d always wondered if, in 2008, Barack Obama and his political team were not as smart politically as they were lucky. He got one fundamental thing right as he launched his campaign now more than four years ago; people wanted “change.” And he had an organization.
In short, he had the right theme at the right time with the right organization. But, his campaign seemed to flounder when faced with a tough offensive, the Hillary campaign when she found her second wind in the late primaries and the bounce the McCain campaign got with the Palin pick (until the media helped destroyed that accomplished Alaska reformer).
Even conservatives wanted “change.” Conservative pundits, bloggers and activists, while (generally) genuinely liking George W. Bush and grateful for his leadership in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 as well as for his determination to win the war in Iraq, regretted that that good man didn’t do enough to hold the line on federal spending, that he failed to use his political capital to eliminate unnecessary federal programs — and to deregulate our economy.
Obama seized that mantra of change (that even conservatives hoped for) and won, even drawing in even the votes of some disgruntled conservatives and libertarians.
Now, Peggy Noonan observes that the Democrat is not good at politics*, “and he isn’t good at politics because he doesn’t really get people.” People don’t really love him, she claims. He’s better at tearing down than building up:
The fact is, he’s good at dismantling. He’s good at critiquing. He’s good at not being the last guy, the one you didn’t like. But he’s not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he’s not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire. (more…)
What MSM coverage I’ve read these past forty-eight hour has slanted against the GOP, as if the opposition party were the hard-liners in the current debate. Take a gander at this opening paragraph from an AP article which headlined Yahoo! when I returned to my room Friday night:
In an unforgiving display of partisanship, the Republican-controlled House approved emergency legislation Friday night to avoid an unprecedented government default and Senate Democrats scuttled it less than two hours later in hopes of a better deal.
The Republican House’s action to provide legislation to prevent default is a display of partisanship!?!? What then is the Democratic Senate’s failure to pass any such legislation, indeed, it’s failure to pass a budget in about 820 days?
Or the president’s failure to present his own plan? So, accomplishment is partisanship and inaction is then both opposition to rank partisanship and a principled approach to working in the national interest fixing our nation’s finances?
Seems it’s the Democrats’ strategy to do nothing while drawing the media fire to the Republican plan(s), the only one(s) ratified by an elected legislative chamber. The Democrats, including the president, know they can count on the MSM to cover for their inaction.
Well, it doesn’t seem to be working as well as President Obama would like. The media may but the Democrats’ schtick, but increasingly the American people are not. His poll numbers continued to drop, with his “job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking. His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April. As recently as June 7, Obama had 50% job approval.” (Emphasis added.) He’s fallen ten points in fewer than two months:
Courtesy of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (h/t to K-Lo at The Corner)
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
If the Politico labels Tea Party activits as “terrorists” for opposing the debt ceiling increase, does that make Barack Obama a terrorist for articulating the exact same stance in 2006?
US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL): “The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
Consistency in news reporting and analysis? Naaaahhhhh.
1) A debt ceiling extension will indeed be passed by the House, likely today.
2) Over the weekend, or Monday at the latest, the Senate will also pass a bill, it will come out of conference and basically please nobody.
3) Obama will sign it even though he doesn’t like it and will say he’s doing it just so he can be the grown-up in the room.
4) Our credit rating will be downgraded anyway, because it’s not a matter of Moody’s and S&P being upset that we’re not allowed to borrow enough (what sort of dolt would think that’s the problem?), but because Washington isn’t serious about bringing the debt down in the first place.
5) Obama will, when we lose our rating, blame it on the deal that he’ll remind us all he held his nose to sign, and thus by implication point the finger at the Tea Party and the GOP as a whole. ‘After all,’ his reasoning will go, ‘I had to sign something, and this is all those lunatics would give me.’ Forget that he had no plan, offered no specifics, and spent the summer criticizing instead of leading.
6) The pliant press will allow the president to get away with it.
After that, the crystal ball goes hazy. Guess it’s up to us at that point.
-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)
In those moments in the past forty-hours when I’ve paid attention to the debt negotiations, I want to just ask every Democrat attacking House Republicans – and said Democrats’ allies in the mainstream media demonizing the majority party in the chamber attempting to face this* — “How do you plan to pay for this?”
As I scan my e-mail and scan the blogs, I keep coming across interesting tidbits that measure the increase in spending in the Obama years. Those on the left blaming George W. Bush for the current stalemate have been using gimmicks to explain away his successor’s spendthrift ways.
Yes, we grant that Republican could have done more — much more — to rein in federal spending (and we and other conservative blogs as well as conservative editorial pages took him to task for fiscal failures), but his spending spree seems restrained when compared to that of his successor. No matter how liberal economists try to dress it up, the Obama administration increased the rate of increase in federal spending above and beyond what it was under Bush. You just need look at the various budgets each president signed. (And the most recent one Obama submitted to show just how he sought to increase spending.)
Indeed, that increase began when Nancy Pelosi took over at House Speaker in 2007. (And yes, we can and should criticize W for not wielding the veto pen more regularly and more strategically.)
Earlier today, Glenn linked a post where Ira Stoll compared the spending habits of the Democratic incumbent to his most recent Democratic predecessor:
. . . the bottom line is that the federal government is spending about double what it was at the end of the Clinton administration. (more…)
People who don’t know squat about economics and government seem to be spouting off left and right about the current troubles we’re facing vis-a-vis the debt ceiling increase. With that lead-in, here are a few observations from me:
First of all, it would seem to me that from an organic and natural perspective, hitting the debt ceiling oughtn’t be nearly as catastrophic as it is being foretold currently. What I mean is that by reviewing the histories of the 1985 and 1996 near-misses with the ceiling, there are any number of tactics the Treasury can employ to make sure the bills get paid and we don’t go into ‘default’. That’s organic. However, over the past couple months (longer for those who have been paying close attention), both sides of the Ruling Class have been using the ceiling as a whipping boy for their positions on economic policy: the Tea Party and GOP have been beating the drum for cutting spending, and the president and Democrats have been beating up on “millionaires and billionaires” not paying their “fair share” of, ahem, revenues.
Once again, instead of providing a plan, President Obama blames his predecessor for his problems:
Does President Obama even read what is put in the teleprompter before he delivers it? On Monday night, Obama claimed that “because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it.” But just three paragraphs earlier, Obama put the blame for our $14.3 trillion debt squarely on President George W. Bush, claiming that “trillions of dollars in new tax cuts,” “two wars” and “an expensive prescription drug program” caused government surpluses to turn into annual deficits. This despite the fact that in only three years Obama’s spending has added $3.7 trillion to the national debt.
Monday night was not the only time Obama has schizophrenically shifted between demagogic finger pointing and patronizing lecturing. In fact, the speech provided an illustration of the central reason he has failed to provide the kind of presidential leadership that is crucial to solving the debt-limit crisis. “I won’t bore you with the details,” Obama said of his secret budget plan. But the biggest problem with Obama’s approach so far is that he has never bothered with any details. The White House has been negotiating with congressional leaders for months, yet Obama has never committed any of his offers to paper. The result has been a steady flood of leaks, counterleaks, speeches and news conferences about what was, or was not, in the latest rejected offer. This environment, created entirely by Obama, created only mistrust and ill will between the parties.
Read the whole thing.
Well, if we can really lay the blame at the feet of George W. Bush, we should remember that man has long since retired to Texas (over two-and-one-half years ago).
Running against said Mr. Bush and touting himself as an improvement on the Texan, Mr. B. Obama was elected to clean up his messes. Instead of complaining, he should start put forward his plan to fix the problems W. supposed created. Alas, that most plans he has put forward only make the problem worse, you know, like further adding to our national debt.
David Harsanyi is onto something:
After all, whenever politicians moan and groan about how Washington isn’t “working,” or, as the president likes to say, whenever his agenda crashes against democracy, that the system is “broken,” well, it’s probably not.
Maybe when Washington stops working the way those inside the Beltway want it to work that’s when America starts working again.
…but not in the way you think. No, this isn’t some tirade about how the societal fabric is being torn apart and/or sullied at the hands of libertines and druggies. That’s all a bit corny for me.
It’s because the “socially liberal” people keep electing big-government high-taxing economic illiterates.
I’m often bemused (and, when in a good mood, amused) when I read someone’s online profile’s self-description of his political affiliation as “Socially liberal, Fiscally conservative.”
Really? I wonder which of his Janus characteristics weighed heavier when choosing between McCain and Obama in 2008.
Clearly there is no doubt that the fiscal conservatism took a backseat. After all, the guy who promised that energy prices “would necessarily skyrocket” and professed his desire IN PLAIN ENGLISH to “spread the wealth around” and when confronted by the economic reality that lower tax rates result in higher revenues (and vice-versa), admitted that his philosophy on taxes was more about “fairness” than bringing in revenues necessary to run the government (albeit a HUGE government he’d like to have) was—is—not a “fiscal conservative”.
As I’ll be spending some time with a good friend and his family this week, I won’t have as much time to blog as I would like. I’ll try to chime in occasionally, and have asked Eric who has joined us recently as a revolving BlogPatriot to fill in as best he can.
Just want to offer one note, a thought that occurred to me today. It seems the president, even though he frequently mouths words about needing to control our spending and live within our means, doesn’t seem to understand that that means reining in federal spending. I mean, just after the 2010 elections, when small-government Republicans, many backed by the Tea Party, were elected to offices across the land, President Obama released a budget with a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit. He didn’t even attempt to rein in federal spending.
Even this week, in his budget speech, he talked about “investments” (which to him means federal expenditures) to create jobs. Does he even understand that the people don’t want new programs if they increase the expenses of our debt-ridden federal government?
More than two-and-one-half years after George W. Bush left the White House, his successor began his speech on the debt crisis blaming him for the mess we’re in, as if no one’s been minding the store since said successor took office.
It’s not just Barack Obama. Now, we’ve got a staff writer at Salon using a bizarre manner of budget calculation, concluded apparently by the left-wing think tank, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (founded by a Carter Administration official) to conclude that, well, the deficit is all Bush’s fault.
Well, you can’t keep blaming Bush when his successor’s had more than two years to correct his mistakes. If the Bush tax cuts were so bad, why then didn’t Obama repeal them when he had a Democratic Congress? Or just let them lapse.
It does seem that many liberals, instead of recognizing that Obama’s policies are not working, would rather blame Bush, a tactic that served them so well in 2006 and 2008 — and may have brought them some emotional satisfaction before that. And maybe still does.
FROM THE COMMENTS: ILoveCapitalism offers a superb succinct summary:
The deficit problem is a spending problem. Bush did unwisely increase non-defense spending by some hundreds of billions (including a new entitlement program). But the spending/deficit problem really took off in FY2008, the first budget in some years to be authored by a Democratic Congress:http://blog.heritage.org/2010/02/05/past-deficits-vs-obamas-deficits-in-pictures/
Emphasis added. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Is the White House and not a left-wing think tank the source of this flimflammery? (The chart Megan McArdle includes in this post (via Instapundit) seems remarkably similar to the one linked above.)
In his Morning Jolt newsletter (available by subscription), Jim Geraghty linked a sweet from Joe Pounder which pretty much summed up the president’s solution to the current crisis, indeed, to any crisis, “House Republicans have passed a budget, passed CCB, proposed another debt ceiling bill and Obama will deliver a speech. #Typical“.
Maybe his reaction is understandable. After all, it was a speech which catapulted the then-state Senator to national fame — and considerable fortune.
Great speakers, however, know one thing that the president seems to have neglected: sometimes silence is an effective means of communication.
The editors of the Wall Street Journal deemed the president’s address last night “unprecedented“:
A President using a national TV address from the White House to call out his political opposition as unreasonable and radical and blame them as the sole reason for the “stalemate” over spending and the national debt.
We’ve watched dozens of these speeches over the years, and this was more like a DNC fund-raiser than an Oval Office address.
He was far too partisan. He offered nothing new. He didn’t seem engaged. He may have hoped to use the address to strengthen his bargaining position, but in the end, he seems to have strengthened that of House Speaker John Boehner who won raves for his speech from his base while Obama’s base had a more “downbeat reaction“. A recent poll shows his base crumbling.
Instead of giving yet another speech, the president should have tried listening more, to the concerns the American people expressed last fall at the ballot box, that protesters have expressed in Tea Parties over the past two years and that Speaker Boehner expressed last night. We have, to borrow an expression of a presidential candidate, “been living beyond our means” and need a “net spending cut.”
And we do need to break that “pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame.“
RELATED: Over at the New York Post, Michael Walsh writes, “The time for talk is over, but alas, talk is all this president has.“ Read the whole thing and ask yourself why people thought this guy had a first-class temperament. (Via Instapundit.)