Deficit Straight Talk: Bush Out Spends Obama 3 to 1 (by Roger Ingalls)
I’m tired of the Republican trash talk about how fiscally irresponsible the Democrats are when it comes to government spending and economic policy. Those that point fingers and yell the loudest are usually the ones with something to hide. It’s time to set the record straight.
Republican administrations are responsible for nearly 80% of the $14 Trillion deficit. This massive debt building started with Ronald Reagan and skyrocketed under George W Bush. The chart below must be painful for conservatives to look at, especially for the followship that can comprehend such data (Democrats are in blue and Republicans are in Red, source: U.S. Dept. of the Treasury). Democrats have historically maintained or decreased the deficit while the Republicans recklessly spend.
click chart for larger view
Let’s compare our two most recent presidents. The chart below is from the New York Times and is based on data from the Congressional Budget Office. This chart shows contribution to the deficit from policy decisions made during each administration. Obama’s figures are forecasted as a two term president. As we can clearly see, Bush’s massive debt is three times greater than Obama’s.
click chart for larger view
Most striking is the debt contribution from Bush’s tax cut policy that predominately benefited the wealthiest Americans. This policy change alone increased the deficit by $1.8 Trillion and is the single biggest debt building event in American history.
Conservatives are hell-bent on maintaining the Bush tax cuts arguing they help stimulate the economy by giving the rich more money to invest (a revisit of the failed Reaganomic trickle down philosophy). Just one problem, it doesn’t work. GDP growth during Bush’s presidency was a dismal 1.66% – the lowest since the 1940s. Even if the negative affects of the 2008 financial crisis are removed from the data, the Bush era is still a 60 year low with a GDP of 2.39. During this same six-decade period, the Democrat administrations of Kennedy/Johnson, Clinton and Carter had the best GDP growth performances (5%, 4.3% and 3.7% respectively). Does it get any clearer than that, folks? This data comes from the U.S. Dept of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis.
1) The Republican policy of lowering taxes to benefit the rich and sold to main-street America as a growth stimulus, does not work. It failed under Reagan and it was catastrophic under Bush.
2) Republicans spend heavily on defense because it is an easy sell to the public and it benefits big businesses that contribute heavily to their political campaigns. Keep in mind, 75% of the jobs created in America come from small businesses, not the big ones chased by Republican politicians.
3) To offset their heavy spending, conservatives try to look responsible by cutting social programs that help the poor and elderly. They sell this by highlighting government excesses that they have created in the first place.
4) Financial policies created by Democrats have historically out-performed Republicans ones because they are inherently balanced with responsible spending and appropriate taxation for a modern society.
Important Note: The Bush tax cuts now expire at the end of 2012. We must hold our representative’s fingers to the fire and make sure they don’t vote to extend this rich man’s benefit package. Again, trickle down Reaganomics never has and never will work!
Closing Challenge: Show me some unbiased government data that even remotely suggests Republican financial policies are better for main-street America than the ones used by Democrats. Real data, not uneducated Tea Party trash talk!
Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.