Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Bush Deficit

The republicans love to bash Obama about the deficit. In fact, they use the deficit as an excuse to bash the American people also, the ones who can least afford it. The deficit is the reason they blocked the extension of unemployment benefits a couple of days ago.

I find it interesting that now that there is a democrat as president, the republicans are complaining about the deficit. Where were they when they were running up the deficit? Oh yeah, they were too busy spending. I guess you can't complain about spending too much when you are the ones spending too much.

Of course there are the teabaggers. Come to think about it, where were the teabaggers when the republicans were running up the deficit? Oh! I guess they only come out where there is a democrat in the presidency. Republican overspenders are OK with the teabaggers also.

Republicans and teabaggers say we should stop blaming Bush for the deficit. Anger Bear recently posted an interesting figure showing just where the Bush deficit came from. Here it is in all its glory.

The graph is based on data through 2005 and a projection for 2006 to 2009. The graph shows the on-budget federal budget balance (the budget balance excluding the Social Security Trust Fund surplus). The heavy red bottom line shows the actual annual budget deficit per year between 2000 and 2009. The top blue line shows what would have happened if Clinton's policies has stayed in effect.

Note, that this graph does not include the effects of the financial crisis.

Also note the following:
  • About half of the deficit is caused by Bush's unfunded tax cuts. Weren't they supposed to boost tax revenues?
  • Another significant portion is expanded defense spending, excluding Iraq.
  • If tax laws had remained the same as they were in Clinton’s last year in office, discretionary spending had simply grown at the rate of inflation, Iraq had not been invaded, and entitlement programs had remained unchanged by new legislation – then the federal budget balance would have followed the top-most blue line instead of the bottom-most red line.
  • The deficit can be greatly reduced by letting the Bush tax cuts expire and cutting back defense spending to 2000 levels
The deficit increase is entirely due to specific decisions made by the Bush administration and Congress. Clinton balanced the budget! External, “ungoverned” forces have not caused our budget mess. That honor belongs entirely to our policy-makers in Washington.


  1. All I can say is, if this mathematically challenged individual can understand this, they shouldn't have any problems undestanding it either.

  2. I love those graphs, they do not lie! Rethugs NOW want all bills to be fully paid for, that's one of their excuses for voting no on unemployment extensions, such hypocrites! No complaints from the peanut gallery when they approved Bushs HUGE spending spree that was NOT paid for!!

    1. That was before Obama spent more than every administration before him. Don't you get it? There is nothing left and our children will have to work hard to try to pay off what he and the Democratic congress spent. If you want to point a finger - Barney Frank is your man, and I use that term losely. Who screwed up the housing markets - Good old Barney Frank and his Boy friend. Do the research and leave the Democratic Plantation.

  3. "...I guess they only come out where there is a democrat in the presidency."

    My amendment to that: only come out where there is a mulatto democrat in the presidency. Let's be clear on that point.

  4. Great piece which calls the hypocritical conservative Republican mythology about the benefits of tax breaks for the rich onto the carpet.

  5. Like I wrote elsewhere, It's as if I dug an 8-foot hole and hopped in, then you come along and dig it a half foot deeper. I start whining that Critter put me in an 8.5 foot hole, and everyone nods sympathetically and says what a bad guy you are. It's that unsubtle, and yet it works.

    1. Even your analogy sucks. Find another that makes sense to someone other than you.

  6. Going back further (1920's) the numbers show that higher taxes never stunted economic growth. Our biggest growth period (1947-1975) is when we were taxing ourselves up to 80%, or more. It takes money to build the greatest society, and maintain it.

  7. I wrote a post "Mondale Was Right" last year with graphes and all you might find interesting.

  8. @TOM,
    Great post. Here is the link for anyone else who would like to read it.

    The republicans love to cut taxes. They sell it by saying it will increase tax revenue but history is full of examples, like your post, that show just the opposite.

    If you reduce taxes, the only way to avoid a deficit is to cut government spending at the same time. The republicans have shown over and over again that they are for big government and expand it at every opportunity when they are in power.

    The only time they are against big government is when they are out of power.

    But then, government is power. What do you expect?

    1. Sounds great but Regan cut expenses. Oops!

  9. Thanks Jerry,
    Added you to my link list (way past due sorry)

  10. Congress, not the President is primarily responsible for the budget deficit. The only difference is it is worse when the President and the Congressional majority are of the same party. Clinton was the beneficiary of Bush policies and a Republican Senate who protected him from the spending excesses of his own party. Another example is the fiscal destruction of our country by Obama and the Democratic Congress.

  11. Actually, the economy has done the best when both Congress and the president are Democrats as shown here.

  12. Anon, are you serious? Why didn't same Republicans protect Bush from his excesses, which were considerable? Also, you ignore the role of a strong economy in deficit reduction.

    The current deficit results from

    -The Bush tax cuts (passed by reconciliation, BTW)
    -Unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
    -Unfunded Medicare, Part D

    Everything else is small potatoes. The federal budget itself is almost all

    -Department of Defense
    -Social Security
    -Interest payments on the debt

    Again, everything else is small potatoes, including the stimulus and the health care law. Social Security pays for itself and the interest payments have to be made. We can bring Defense in line by cutting its budget or make Social Security and Medicare pay for it or increase the upper tax brackets and expanding the business tax burden, which now effectively almost nonexistent. (Increase these enough and you can reduce the lower income brackets.)

    These numbers are easily available. I don't know why you guys have such trouble grasping them.

    Through federal and state income taxes, sales taxes, FICA, and various fees, the middle class has assumed a disproportionate and staggering responsibility for the tax burden and the deficit. And conservatives want to make it worse by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits in the interests of their pals in the defense industry.

  13. Republicans and teabaggers say we should stop blaming Bush for the deficit.

    "Tea Baggers", as you so condescendingly call them ... say nothing of the sort.

    Many of them were alarmed at the spending under Bush II. Many others were just minding their own business thinking the (D)'s and the (R)'s had it under control and would work it all out.

    We were no less alarmed when Obama followed that by tripling Government spending. As a matter of fact, if TARP under Bush (which Obama voted for as well) made us sit up and notice, Obama's "stimulus" and his drive to single-payer government-controlled health care got us (we're not protesters by nature) up off of the proverbial couch.

    $14 Trillion in debt. $130 Trillion in un-funded liabilities (mostly entitlements -- Medicare and Social Security). THESE AREN'T EVEN COUNTED IN THE BUDGET, because it looks so bad the Feds over the years (both R and D) don't want us to think about it. It's just going to take care of itself by magic, I guess.

    As long as we "get ours", screw the next generation, right?

    We don't think so.

  14. OK, philmon, let's get our numbers straight.

    "Obama followed that by tripling Government spending"
    WRONG! Total federal spending in Bush's last fiscal year (2009) was $3.52 Trillion. Federal spending in Obama's first fiscal year (2010)was $3.46 Trillion. He actually DECREASED total federal spending.

    "$14 Trillion in debt"
    Yes, our debt is about $14 Trillion, but it was about $12 Trillion at the end of Bush's last fiscal year so you can attribute only about $2 Trillion to Obama and he actually reduced the annual deficit between 2009 and 2010.

  15. Yeah! It all sounds great as long as you keep the President in theif's record out of the discussion. You can turn the numbers to say what you want but if you think Obama is doing a good job, you obviously have some maturing or evolving to do. He will go down as the worst President, surpassing even Carter. By the way - Jerry's numbers are totally incorrect - same policy as the liberal rags - throw enough crap on the wall and enough will stick to convice the mindless masses that do no research.

  16. Anon,
    Let's see your proof that my numbers are wrong.