As we careen headlong toward the debt ceiling deadline, with the House Republicans and Speaker John Boehner in full Three-Stooges-Trying-To-Fix-The-Plumbing mode, the issue area that’s been overshadowed by the grandstanding, political props and brinksmanship is government spending itself.
The budget deficit is really the 4,000 pound gorilla in the room and the Republicans refuse to discuss anything other than the fact that employer mandate for the dreaded Affordable Care Act begins a year after the individual mandate. Yes, we’re in the middle of a showdown over the debt because of Obamacare rather than, you know, spending and fiscal responsibility.
Why aren’t they talking about the deficit? That’s easy: they can’t say anything bad about it because the Obama administration’s record on the deficit is kind of stellar.
Let’s review some numbers.
While it’s true that, in a general sense, the debt, $16 trillion, is higher than ever before, but it has less to do with President Obama, and more to do with the previous administration’s tab for careless spending on two wars which it refused to offset by rolling back the ridiculously large tax cuts for the super-rich. Couple those losses with the globally massive economic depression from which we’ve only recently extricated ourselves. Yes, critics of the administration are correct when they say the debt is on track to double. However, it’s not due to the administration’s actions, but rather the policies of the previous administration. Historically speaking, Ronald Reagan presided over a 188 percent increase in the debt. Bush 41 presided over a 55.6 percent increase, and Bush 43 presided over an 89 percent increase. At the same time, the year-over-year increase in the debt under President Obama has dropped from 15 percent to four percent.
Still, the debt is indeed quite large, but what’s the first step in confronting it? Reducing the deficit but not so hastily that it disrupts economic growth… [CONTINUE READING]