Black and White City Center wallpaper – The Deficit and Conservative Diversions

Black and White City Center wallpaper

It is bad enough the nation has been suckered and manipulated into a a deeply dishonest debate about spending and deficits. To hear the Right and most of the main stream media tell it, we’re in economics straights so dire we have no choice but to destroy Medicare, Medicaid and and every other component of the economic safety net for average Americans. Republican governors were so high on deficit kool-aid they felt perfectly comfortable telling people grandiose lies about labor rights being directly connected to their budget woes. All the while pushing yet more tax cuts for corporations, many of which were paying little to no taxes and reaping record profits. In other words there is no reason in regards to corporate taxes, taxes on the wealthy or corporate profits to explain why unemployment remains unacceptably high, that homes are being foreclosed without any genuine attempt by mortgage holders to negotiate with homeowners, or that health care for the working poor must be cut. But like a vicious rumor we’re all being dragged into this mendacious and misleading debate. Like most such debates from the Right, the framing is dishonest, and the content of the debate is equally free of facts. In President Obama’s recent speech on the economy and the national deficit he said,

To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit — three times.  They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush, then made by President Clinton, by Democratic Congresses and by a Republican Congress.  All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.  But they largely protected the middle class; they largely protected our commitment to seniors; they protected our key investments in our future.

As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000.  We went from deficit to surplus.  America was actually on track to becoming completely debt free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed.  We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program — but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending.  Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts — tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.

To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our nation’s checkbook, consider this:  In the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.

But that’s not what happened.  And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place.  When I took office, our projected deficit, annually, was more than $1 trillion.  On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more.

In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pocket.  It was absolutely the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.

So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created.  That’s how we got here.  And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s.  We have to live within our means.  We have to reduce our deficit, and we have to get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt.  And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and helps us win the future. [Remarks by the President on Fiscal Policy, 4/13/11]

As far as political speeches this one stands out as one of the more accurate and free of double-talk. In the first paragraph he even gave Republicans in the 90s more credit for acting responsibly than they deserve. Whether one thinks it is a positive or negative trait of Obama’s political style, one cannot say he does not regularly try to give credit to his political adversaries as a way to keep the door open for their input. This is opposed to the Bush-Cheney-Rove era in which disagreeing with Bush was the same as some kind of sedition. This time Obama is guilty of spitting on Superman’s cape, excuse me, blaming Bush and Conservatives for doing things they actually did,

Kilmeade: Obama’s Speech Was “Blame Bush.” On the April 14 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that the theme of Obama’s budget speech amounted to “blame Bush.” Guest co-host Peter Johnson Jr. responded by saying, “All the way. Very perceptive, Brian.” Kilmeade then stated, “How could you possibly, three years into your presidency, blame what happened eight years ago or along the way?”

[  ]…Carlson: “Obama Back To The Bush Blame Game When It Comes To The Deficit.” Later on Fox & Friends, Carlson teased an upcoming segment by stating: “And as we told you, President Obama back to the bush Blame game when it comes to the deficit. But now that he’s holding the checkbook, does that argument really work?” While Carlson spoke, on-screen text stated, “Bush blame game”

[  ]…Doug Powers: Obama’s “Obligatory Bush Blame” Was “Predictable.” In an April 13 post on Michelle Malkin’s blog, Dough Powers wrote that “[t]he ‘predictable as the sun rising in the east’ part was, of course, the obligatory Bush blame.”

[  ]…Jim Geraghty: “There Is A Lot Of Blaming Bush In This Speech.” From an April 13 National Review Online post by Jim Geraghty

Contribution to fiscal deterioration 2009 and 2010

I read Geraghty’s whole post so you don’t have to. I’m a little conflicted since I don’t know whether I should feel sorry for Geraghty for having such poor mental cognitive capacity or just write it off as yet another Con who cannot handle the truth. Geraghty claims Obama is increasing the national debt at three times the rate of Bush ( he does pause to admit Bush’s deficits were not a good thing. This is a National Review SOP. You admit that something a Republican did was not stellar judgement, and then rip the Democratic target of the hit piece with made up or exaggerated evidence). I’ll try to explain this in a way that even a tea smoker like Geraghty and his readers can understand. Let’s say George stole your credit card and not only charged up to the limit, but manipulated his way into charging way beyond the limit. Now assume George and the friends who helped him with his scam leave you with the debt to pay. Assuming we live in conservative dreamland where there is no regulation to protect consumers, you have to pay the debt, but can only afford to make the minimum payments. That means a small portion of your payment is going toward the principle and the rest is going to pay the interest. That is close to what is happening with the national debt. Only George and company also sabotaged the economy, so you’re earning less. Payment to debt, plus interests, plus lower earnings and you get Jimbo’s description of the debt. Only he has placed blame on the victim. I can also assure you that the National Joke Review thinks the Bush tax cuts – also part of the lower capacity to repay the debt – supported the Bush tax cuts and was against letting them expire in 2010. Imagine trying to pay off a debt someone else created with your hands tied behind your back. President Obama is not playing the blame game. Just as that credit card debt would be a real financial burden with consequences, so are the legacy of the Republican economic policies which are the cause of most of the nation’s current problems. Blaming Bush and Republicans should never end because their legacy is now a historical fact. We’re all paying for them now. Your grand children will be paying for them. Think of them as an inheritance in reverse. Republicans should know about the blame and accountability game. If you believe everything they say, it is almost as if George W. Bush the failed businessman, alcoholic and draft avoider was never president. CBPP: “[V]irtually The Entire Deficit Over The Next Ten Years” Due To Bush Policies, Economic Downturn.”

Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame.  Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4).  Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.

Fox News’ Kilmeade had the shameless gull to say, “How could you possibly, three years into your presidency, blame what happened eight years ago or along the way?”. When Bush was president they blamed The Big Dog for a recession that started on their watch, The Bush Economy and the Myth of the Clinton Recession

Facing the avalanche of grim news Monday, the White House still refuses to use the term “recession” to describe the economic calamity that Barack Obama will inherit from George W. Bush. Two months after press secretary Dana Perino claimed, “I don’t think anybody could tell you right now if we’re in a recession or not” and one month after he himself rejected a question as to whether the U.S. was in a recession as “irrelevant,” Bush spokesman Tony Fratto today said of the slowdown, “What’s important is what is being done about it.”

Of course, back in 2001 the new Bush administration and its amen corner in the right-wing media weren’t shy at all when it came to blaming a sluggish economy on Bill Clinton.

While the NEBR determined the George W. Bush’s first recession actually began in March 2001, the history of U.S. GDP shows that the traditional definition of recession – two straight quarters of GDP decline – was never met during either the last year of the Clinton presidency or the first of Bush’s tenure:

Undeterred, the Republican Party and its echo chamber have for years continued to perpetuate the myth that President Bush “inherited a recession” from Bill Clinton. As Media Matters detailed, the sound bite was introduced before George W, Bush even took the oath of office. On December 3, 2000, Dick Cheney told Tim Russert “I think so” when asked if “we’re on the front edge of a recession.”

There was never a time during the Bush era when Republicans took responsibility for a sluggish economy, the worse job creation record since Herbert Hoover and even during the last year of Bush’s second term, as the housing bubble was well underway and the Great Recession had well started they were trying to spin the history of the Bush-Republican years, White House projects record deficit for 2009

“The determination was made that getting the economy back on track was a higher priority than immediate deficit reduction,” Nussle said.

He said the OMB projects that the deficit would fall after the 2009 budget year, and he predicted that the government would have a surplus in budget year 2012, if the president’s budget blueprint is followed.

“Near-term deficits are temporary and manageable if — and only if — we keep spending in check, the tax burden low and the economy growing,” Nussle said, warning that congressional Democrats were planning to add billions of dollars in spending to the federal budget.

President Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion when he took office in 2001 but has since posted a budget deficit every year.

US budget surpluses and deficits by Congressional Budget Office. Note Clinton surplus

No mention of the contribution of the Bush tax cuts, Bush’s failure to be proactive about the housing bubble, Republican failure to police the rating agencies and their security evaluations, Bush’s failure to pay for the costs of invading Iraq or adjust course at any time during his presidency despite plenty of data that showed the economy was in deep trouble. From a November 2008 post by Perrspectives, Measuring the Bush Recession

As the American economy plunges deeper into crisis, the conservative chattering classes are hoping for a replay of their 2001 blame game. Having successfully perpetuated the myth that President Bush “inherited a recession” from Bill Clinton, right-wing mouthpieces from Rush Limbaugh to Fred Barnes began blaming Barack Obama for the Bush recession literally within hours of his election. But as a quick glance at the data shows, across virtually economic indicator from GDP, unemployment and consumer confidence to home prices, foreclosures and manufacturing output, ownership for this mushrooming economic calamity squarely belongs to George W. Bush.

Gross Domestic Product. U.S. GDP shrank by 0.3% in the third quarter (July through September), a decline which followed the downward revision of the Q2 number from 3.3% to 2.8%. But while “recession” is traditionally defined as two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction (which is almost certain to occur), the quarterly Survey of Professional Forecasters by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia concluded that the United States entered a recession in April.

Recession at the State and Local Level. While there is debate as to whether or not the United States has technically slipped into a recession, at the state and local level there is no doubt at all. According to Moody’s Economy, by the end of September 30 states were in recession, up from just five in March. 19 more states were deemed “at risk.”

Obama and Congress had not passed the first dime in spending and the Right was jumping up and down, arms flailing – nothing that has happened or will happened and any consequences from the things they did but pretended never happened were, are or will be their fault. The Right’s political mentality is just like that of a career criminal. Nothing is ever their fault, they think they should never be held accountable, they feel they are victims and society is out to get them. What with the 24/7 right-wing distortion machine, wrapping their trash in the flag, and the general public’s tendency to have a short-term memory, the Right always seems to end up rewarded for its abhorrent behavior.