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The Deficit Is Obama's Now

Until today, President Obama could plausibly blame the country’s budget mess on former president Bush. No longer. Today Obama unveiled the details of his 10-year budget plan. The president and his lieutenants have long insisted that they would scrub the budget line-by-line, eliminating all manner of wasteful spending and failing programs. Peter Orszag, Obama’s uber-geek chief number-cruncher, even seemed to crack a few smiles as he proudly listed the spending cuts he and his team want to make.

For Beltway policy wonks, some of the proposals are long overdue: slashing subsidies to private education loan providers, whose work a government program does more efficiently; restructuring payments to Medicare Advantage providers; cutting wasteful “direct payments” to rich farmers, who currently get cash from the government based merely on the land they own -- not what they farm or how much they produce. Sensible stuff.

But Obama isn’t going far enough. Take agricultural payments: Sure, he wants to cut back on -- but not eliminate -- some of the most egregious excesses of the racket the ag lobby currently runs at the expense of the rest of us. But what of the rest of the system -- long in need of wholesale dismantling -- of redundant insurance, disaster assistance and price guarantees seemingly designed to benefit well-heeled agribusinesses? This budget isn’t scrubbed.

Okay, okay, don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. I hear that. It will be hard enough getting all of Obama’s cuts through Congress. Reformers have attempted to get agricultural payments slashed for years. President Bush made a strong push to do just that in his last Farm Bill. He basically failed, and he wasn’t simultaneously proposing the range and depth of cuts elsewhere -- along with the slew of new reforms -- that Obama wants. Besides, the big battle is over health care costs, reform of which will ultimately determine whether this country goes broke.

Why demand more? Because Obama promised more. Because sacrificing good sense to political expedience should not be excused. And, yes, because we are lining ourselves up for an awful lot of debt. Obama promises to slice the current budget deficit in half by the end of his first term. That should shock more people: a half-trillion-dollar deficit in 2013.

Obama has been near untouchable so far, if opinion polls are to be believed. Mentioning the “deficit we inherited,” as he did in his address to Congress on Tuesday, has deeply undercut Republicans -- now born-again deficit hawks, apparently -- who complain about the expense of his spending programs. That argument will be progressively less convincing. This is Obama’s budget, one he has said will fix federal spending. He owns the deficit now.

By Stephen Stromberg  | February 26, 2009; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Next: Candidate Obama vs. President Obama


Last time I checked almost $1.2 Trillion of the $1.7 Trillion deficit is solely due to Comrade Bush.

We're cleaning up your mess, Republicans.

And it ain't pretty.

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 26, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

what willseattle said. it's amazing how fungible that bush debt is....

Posted by: mycomment | February 26, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Not until his budget is passed.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 26, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree with WillSeattle.

The "increase" in deficit is largely for the following reasons:
#1 Obama is including war appropriations in his budget estimates; putting an end to a dishonest technique by Bush that hid the cost of his Wars
#2 Decreasing tax revenues from our failing economy. Also the responsibility of the president that allowed the economic troubles to spin out of control: Bush.

A lot of the true increase comes from Obama's efforts to stabilize the economy.($250 Billion in bank stabilization)

So really Obama's increase in truly discretionary funding(energy,health care, education), is pretty modest considering the scope of these problems.

I'm totally with you on Agribusiness subsidy, not only is it corporate welfare, but it promotes suffering in places like Africa, where it is impossible for farming industry to grow because it cannot compete with our subsidies.

Posted by: zosima | February 26, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Had Bush done the job he was supposed to do, Obama wouldn't have had to take such drastic action. It's still the Bush deficit no matter how much lipstick you put on it.

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 26, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Most of the deficit is from Bush, the rest is from cleaning up the mess Bush and the Republicans made. If the Republicans had their way, we'd just stand there and watch the mess get bigger and bigger.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 26, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Why do you suppose the "democrats" are all breaking out in monkey-bites about the Republican legislators not voting for their pork-laden "stimulus" bill? After all, it passed, didn't it? They GOT what they wanted! The reason IS because they know when the American people see that the bill DIDN'T DO what the democrats promised, learn about all the pork that was in it, and realize that the democrats blew the money that COULD have brought about a recovery, the American people will know which party did it to 'em, because the Republicans are on record as opposing the democrats shameful waste of taxpayer funds. There will be only one party to blame, the democrats can't say "They voted for it, too!", and now they're scared! Now even Congress is starting to back off in the face of rapidly growing opposition! Thank the Republicans for trying to stop the "democrats" spending-frenzy!

Posted by: lightnin001 | February 26, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Sure, it's all Obama's. Bush, and the rest of us, had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: michael4 | February 26, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he promised more - to be REALISTICALLY accomplished within the first MONTH of his presidency. Give me a break. What if your budget was drastically slashed from one month to the next?

Budget reform will take years to achieve.

And NO the budget won't be his for some time. He's still has to fix Reagan's and Bush jr. mistakes first.

Posted by: Eve1978 | February 27, 2009 4:52 AM | Report abuse

“Until today, President Obama could plausibly blame the country’s budget mess on former president Bush. No longer.”

It took Clinton 6 years to clean up the Republican deficits he inherited and he left a surplus. A President is responsible for what he leaves behind not for what he inherits and what he leaves behind includes the year following his leaving office. The surplus in Bush’s first year belonged to Clinton.

You will have to wait 5 or 9 years before you can declare what Obama’s economic legacy will be. Pretending that this budget mess belongs to Obama is just that, pretending.

Posted by: timothy2me | February 27, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

And the Medal of Freedom award from George Bush goes to Stromberg for his excellent portrayal of a loyal foot-soldier propagandist in disseminating Republican talking points aiding and abetting Republicans in their never-ending effort to avoid taking responsibilty for anything.

Posted by: Patriot3 | February 27, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Put away your kneepads, Stromberg...there must a more dignified way to earn a living besides rewriting the last 8 years for this previous administration.

You would think Bush left office 4 years ago.

Posted by: LABC | February 27, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

So 8 months into W's presidency 9/11 was Clinton's fault.

But 4 weeks into Obama's presidency, the obfuscation lies and outright theft by the Bush economic team all belongs to the new guy.

Tell me Mr. Stromberg do you question the apparel and makeup choices of rape victims too?

Here's a simple economics question: What country in recorded history has cut taxes in a time of war?

Answer: If there ever was one it was so obiliterated by its enemies we have no record of their existence.

And finally:
"Ronald Reagan proved that deficits don't matter" - Fmr. Vice President/member of the 4th branch of government, Richard Cheney

Posted by: feckless | February 27, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

This is what I love about Dem. Always blame someone else. Obama is a joke.

Posted by: mmourges | February 27, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The deficit is Obama's like winning the war in Iraq is due to Obama.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 27, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Yep, you betcha the Great Obama Depression
of 2009 is only just getting started as the
USA lost another almost 700,000 more jobs
in Feb 2009 thanks to screwup in chief
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama,so you betcha
this is all happening on Obama's Watch
this time. Impeach Obama.

Posted by: Jan521977 | February 28, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

Yeah...right. People with even average intelligence understand who inherited a surplus & who inherited deficit. A guy called Clinton inherited a deficit from Daddy Bush & turned it into surplus. He bequeathed it to his successor called Brat Bush who whoopied it all like using daddy's credit card in frat party. Now the cleaning guy called Barack Obama has undertaken to clean up the mess after the party.
Mr. Stromberg, try something else.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | February 28, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

In one short year Obama will raise the deficit to historic proportions, cost millions of Americans their jobs, get us in a nuclear war with Pakistan, kill millions of innocents, regulate the media with his facist actions, and paint all who refuse to capitulate as racists.

While he does make Bush look good his followers forget that he is setting a precedent that republicans can use against the democrats when they get voted back in power. 2012 isn't very far away.

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

One of the crazier theories about Barack Hussein Obama was that he is an Islamic, "Manchurian Candidate" sent to damage or destroy America from within.

It was thought to be nonsense.

But, if B.O. was such a person he could not do any better job of ruining the U.S.A. than he is doing at this very moment.

In four years, I suspect our economy and industry will be in utter ruin. Massive debt, astronomical interests rates, stratospheric inflation, double digit unemployment and social unrest will be the hallmarks of this Obamanation.

Maybe we should rethink that wacky, conspiracy theory. It may be solid truth.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 28, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Keep telling yourself that it is Obama's now. The facts seem to have a way of rising to the top.

Bush and the Republicans put us in this position and Obama has done what he had to in order to save this country. If it fails will it be his fault? Yes, to a degree but the Republican stink of the last 8 years that drove us to this point? Will never go away.

Posted by: Grissom1001 | February 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Battleground LOL Grow up and educate yourself if your going to come onto sites like this and dribble your racist rhetoric down your chin.
Barack Hussein Obama took over this mess and no amount of your spittle filled idiocy will change it.

Posted by: Grissom1001 | February 28, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Grissom, the current recession started way back in the 90's when Clinton reduced the rules on mortages. Democrats, with the assistance of ACORN whittled those down even more. We then ended up with people who paid not a dime for houses that are now called toxic assetts.

I have the link to a 1990's NYT article proving my first assertion, and a video of democrats explaining in 2006 how Freddie/Fannie were the most solvent institutions in America. Would you like those, or will you prefer to spread the lies so that free America dies?

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, you can view this at Rasmussens polls ...

Confidence in the $787-billion economic stimulus plan, for example, has fallen four points in the week since Obama signed it into law, and more voters are prepared to punish their congressional representatives for supporting it.

Obamanomics is alive, and an anchor around the necks of the socialists.

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg's right. The deficit might not be closely associated with Obama -- yet. That's only because his radical restructuring of government is on everyone's minds, and that's all Obama's.

Posted by: AndreainNY | February 28, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 posts Feb 28,09 10:49 AM
“In four years, I suspect our economy and industry will be in utter ruin. Massive debt, astronomical interests rates, stratospheric inflation, double digit unemployment and social unrest will be the hallmarks of this Obamanation.”

Aaaaaa ….. You haven’t been paying attention have you.

The economy is in shambles thanks to cheney/bush borrowing $4 BILLION DOLLAR$ A MONTH FROM CHINA AND FLUSHING IT DOW A TOILET IN IRAQ.

What industry? Conservative republicans gave industry tax breaks so they could outsource our jobs.

Employment is already in double digit numbers when the people not collecting unemployment are counted.

Social unrest will come in 2010 when more congressional conservative republicans lose their seats.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Dannojyd posts Feb 28,09 1:41 PM
“Grissom, the current recession started way back in the 90's when Clinton reduced the rules on mortages. Democrats, with the assistance of ACORN whittled those down even more. We then ended up with people who paid not a dime for houses that are now called toxic assetts.”

Since cheney/bush did not VETO one bill, no one, during his first 6 years in office and conservative republicans controlled congress from 1994 to 2006, the white house for 20 of the last 28 years …. Tell us again why it’s Bill Clinton’s fault???

Oh I forgot, Bill Clinton signed Phil (bunch of whiners) Gramm’s deregulation bill.

Yea that’s the ticket, stay in denial!

Posted by: knjincvc | February 28, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Grissom, the democrats used racism as their message to stop Bush, and the republicans from re-enacting the safeguards removed by the Clinton administration.

Obama runs Washington today. Do you see any real investigations into the cause of today's current economic disaster, or are you only hearing the socialist message being spread? Obamanomics is all about re-igighting socalism in America, not about fixing the economy.

The trillions being spent by todays democrats will fix nothing, but unemployment will continue to grow. Such is todays democrat party.

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The post WWII national debt was not much of a problem until 1980 when Ronald Reagan went on the greatest peace time spending spree in American history (about 24% of GDP). There were no Reagan tax cuts--just a shift of the tax burden away from wealthy tax payers . The twelve Reagan-Bush I years quadrupled the debt. After Bill Clinton worked six years both raising revenue and cutting spending (again as a % of GDP)to get the budget back into balance, it took Bush II six months to get it back into deficit with tax cuts. We were back in the red prior to 9-11. The last eight years doubled the debt again.

Republicans have a lot of nerve saying a word about deficit spending. The national debt, at least 90% of it, belongs to them.

Posted by: rawebb1 | February 28, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

OOPS! re-igighting should have been re-ignighting, and I noticed that Grissom didn't want the link to the vid of the dems in congress protecting Fannie/Freddie in 2006. Well, here it is anyway ...

Either the dems are that stupid, incompetent, or they were protecting the upcoming disaster that they wanted throughout the Bush years. You decide.

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Clinton was forced to meet the Republican Congress half way. That is why deficit spending was greatly reduced.

Posted by: Dannojyd | February 28, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Papa Bush gave Bubba a clean Kuwait, strong military, higher taxes with a budget cut to grow the economy during the dotcom rush. Dubya gave Obama a so-so Iraq, a losing Afghanistan, a depleted military, an out of business investment banking industry and an almost out banking /insurance industry. The country was just coming out of a mini-recession as Bubba took office. Obama saw the economy come crashing down in the three months before he took office. Coincidence or plan the 787 billion stimulus will have it's peak of job creation and tax receipts in 2011. The money will be in this years budget spent later. If a million are back to work by New Years this will be a long recession, if two million are back, we will recover the 4 million job losses before his next term. A big part of it is stabilizing the banks instilling confidence back to the markets. Time will tell.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 28, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama has proposed the largest budget in history. How will spending trillions we don't have fix our economy? The Dems have changed tactics for sure. They used to be tax and spend, now they are going to spend, then tax.

When you dump that much money into the economy without the demand, watch what happens to inflation! Mark my words, it is going to skyrocket in the coming months.

Posted by: Bowhunter | February 28, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

If the banking system would stop hoarding the billions given away to it by Treasury and the Fed, Obama would not be as financually pressed as his budget proposal indicates he is. What other choices does the man have? Simply to do nothing? Hoover tried that....

Posted by: dickhealy | March 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Horsehockey. The group of Bushie yahoo's have destroyed the economy the last 8 years between running a credit card war and gutting the regulatory agencies. I do think that four years from now if things arent getting better then Obama will be in trouble only because folks are scared and angry. This is the crap that has run me out of the Republican party the last 4 years, between ideological inflexibility and utter incompetence I have no use for the party any more

Posted by: chet_brewer | March 1, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Republicans can't handle the truth. The same party that drove the economy into the ditch are now complaining about the price tag for the tow truck.

Obama has given us an honest budget, including the costs of our two wars, budgeting for natural disasters, and the cost of the alternative minimum tax none of which Bush and the Republicans did for the past 8 years.

And it ain't his till it's passed

Posted by: JRM2 | March 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

within 5 years health care costs will amount to nearly 20% of our GDP.

We need healthcare reform now.

Repubs keep saying they want "choice" rather than have the government run health care but they refuse to say what that means. In other words, just keep on doing what we are doing.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have made the word "earmarks" a dirty word. I don't care if it is a pet project, what I care about is if it is an effective way of spending taxpayer money.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 1, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Fiscal conservatism is a myth. Look at our debt since 1980. Democrats and republicans have both increased the debt at the same rate with two exceptions. One with Clinton getting lucky with the Tech boom and one for Bush jr. being stupid and going to war/cutting taxes for the rich. I wish Obama could cut more from the budget but the reality is there is a lot that needs to be done. If fiscal conservatives want a balanced budget, I would suggest more taxes.

Posted by: mpkincai | March 1, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

WHY did the CONSERVATIVES under BUSH spend like there’s no tomorrow and wreck the economy, and now the US is producing less than ever. With the lowest tax rates on the wealthy in history, why did the economy collapse? CNBC’s hypocritic stance by ignoring what they helped create through their supporting the GOP and BUSH’s insane spending has caused a depression! Remember the 2 Fools on the Hill? Bush: It must be a budget, see there’s numbers on it. — Cheney, “Deficits don’t matter.” Sometimes its not HOW much you spend that wrecks an economy, it’s WHERE you spend it! You spend a million on a bridge in the US, the accounting is balanced. You don’t have a million dollars but you have a million dollar bridge, hence balanced accounting. If you spend a half million to blow up a bridge then spend a million to rebuild it in a foreign country, you are immediately in the red!

Suddenly the GOP CNBC pundits are feigning worry about the middle class?, blue collar workers? UNIONS? They certainly have been the enemies of the middle class since Reagan, as the middle class is disappearing before our eyes, and the poverty classes growing faster than ever under CONservative failed ideologies! Industrial production is plunging, and partly due to CONservative corporations fleeing the USA to build factories where they can pollute unrestrained. These corporations under a common sense government should never be allowed to do business in or with the United States ever again! The current lame efforts diluted by the GOP have only allowed pollution to increase. The answer to industrial production and corporations is clean up your act, here and abroad, to continue doing business in the United States.

Posted by: dsoulplane | March 2, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

We need to demand Herr Fuhrer Barack Obama
and his worthless stooge US Attorney General Eric "White Collar Crook Lover" Holder get off theit total incompetent damn
corrupt Democrat Culture of Corruption Butts and start calling up Federal Grand Juries to send these Wall Street Crooke to
the Big House...That is providing Obama and
Holder and Michelle Obama can stop their
racial agitation crap long enough to do so
and Obama can stop still making campaign
speeches and doing phony photo ops and wasting our tax money on jet segt trips all
over the USA at our expense. Impeach Obama!

Posted by: Kim12785 | March 2, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Okay so you betcha this mess is now all on
Comrade Barack Hussein Obama Watch and that
then makes it the Great Obama Depression
of 2009 and the Obama Deficit as well...Yes
Obama Phony US Attorney General Eric Holder
where are the criminal indictments you damn
phony worthless punk Eric Holder??? Impeach
Obama Here And Now! Fire Holder!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | March 2, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

You've got to be kidding me. Are there many people out there who buy this?

Obama is responsibly reporting the true costs of the wars that Bush launched, taking the drastic measures needed to jump start the failing economy he inherited while helping people who are suffering greatly during that failure, and investing in our future by putting money into infrastructure and green technologies, etc.

What did Bush leave us? Talk to me when Obama is leaving office and we'll see who gets responsibility for what.

If you're philosophically against government actually serving it's people then I can see why you want oppose what Obama's doing. But it was under Bush's watch that surpluses became record deficits while the disparity of income between the wealthy and the poor grew alarmingly and our entire financial system was hijacked by corrupt investors who were out for themselves while our regulators turned a blind eye. It costs a lot more to clean up a mess than it does to prevent it in the first place.

Try another line of debate. This one doesn't pass the most lenient of smell tests. The desperation for something positive to offer form your world view reeks.

Posted by: asnevitt | March 2, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

It's an interesting comment that after only one month in office, all the problems are now the fault of President Obama. It's an unwritten rule of corporate management that six months after taking over as CEO you can no longer blame the conditon of the company on the previous CEO. This apparently is now reduced to one month. Republicans however still consider it reasonable to blame Clinton for things he did eight years ago. Things that they had eight years to change had they had a mind to do so.

Posted by: harris1 | March 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Stromberg, after reading the zeal with which you seek to assign the current budget deficit away from the previous administration and on to the new one, I have to question your economic credentials. Exactly what is you background on the subject? I suspect you are another media talking head who spews out comments like this as if he was reporting on some sort of a sporting event and not an economic crisis that affects all of us. The responsibility for fixing the mess that George W. Bush created may be President Obama's, but the responsibility for the mess we are in will always belong to the incompetent who just slinked back to his cushy private life in Texas.

Posted by: nysteveo2 | March 2, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"This is what I love about Dem. Always blame someone else. Obama is a joke."

Posted by: mmourges

This is what I love about people like you: broken English. Here's a thought experiment: If you were taking your car in for an oil change and got hit by an uninsured driver (Bush), then it's your fault you must fix the car? In other words (since you have trouble with them), you were going to spend thirty bucks, but now it's a thousand and thirty, but you can't blame the other driver? No wonder this country is halfway down the drain with brains akin to yours in charge for the eight years or more that Republicans were in charge and busy "rescuing" Terry Schiavo.

Posted by: edwcorey | March 2, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

What a shock! Freddie the Freeloader Hiatt hires YET ANOTHER GOP shill to out-nutjob the Moonie Times.

Kristol was the last straw. You guys officially SUCK now.

Posted by: elroy1 | March 2, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

IOKIYAR=It's Okay If You Are Republican.

The Mantra for a one-time decent op-ed page that has been POLLUTED by the "management" of the GOP shill, Freddie the Freeloader Hiatt.

Stop hiring neo-con deadenders, Hiatt!

Posted by: elroy1 | March 2, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

WOW, Republicans have been blaming Jimmie Carter and Bill Clinton for everything that has gone wrong during the eight years of George Bush and now they want to quickly assign blame to President Obama after one month in office. My question is when will Republicans accept any responsibility for anything that occurred during their watch?

Posted by: catmomtx | March 2, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Bush is history. Obama signed up and campaigned to fix this mess. He promised the poor that he was going to enact trickle up economics so he didn't lie. The only problem is that trickle up economics means that we all become poor and dependent. I have faith in my country and I don't think this will last. The dems will turn on Obama and the GOP will rise up and change things in 2010. Until then we will just hunker down and save our pennies. Not good for the economy.

Posted by: ontheblvd | March 2, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Seig Heil! Heil Comrade Leader Obama and
Welcome to the Great Obama Depression of
2009 and Final Collapse of the Stock Market Comrades as your now living in Der
USSA aka Obamastan or United Socialist States of Amerika under Der Leader Comrade
President For Life Barack Hussein Obama!

Posted by: KarenKay2009 | March 3, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

So I guess if it's Obama's depression then that must mean he won the Iraq war in one month when those p*ssy repukes couldn't win it in 7 years.

Posted by: JRM2 | March 3, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

"In one short year Obama will raise the deficit to historic proportions, cost millions of Americans their jobs, get us in a nuclear war with Pakistan, kill millions of innocents, regulate the media with his facist actions, and paint all who refuse to capitulate as racists."

Not to mention he'll also have inspired a tremendous amount of downright loony posts on the internet.

Posted by: sembtex | March 3, 2009 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Actually Obama's total budget is lower than the last Bush budget of 3.1 trillion dollars, when you factor in the additional hidden special war appropriations for Iraq, which have been kept out of the real budget for the last eight years.

Remove the spending that would have been hidden in the past, and the Obama budget falls below the 3 trillion mark hit by Bush in 2008.

The entire increase in the national deficit has been fueled by two things alone. The tax cuts to the top two percent of income earners, who were given one trillion dollars out of the total 2.1 trillion in Bush tax cuts and the Iraq War, which has cost about a trillion dollars total to date. Eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent, which were financed by BORROWING from projected Social Security Surpluses, and scale back spending on the War in Iraq, and the deficit disappears very quickly.

Obama's stimulus package is tiny compared to the huge long term debt created by these two Bush policies which lie at the heart of the Republican agenda.

And the Republican hidden agenda is to destroy Social Security by borrowing from it to fund tax cuts to a tax class that does not contribute to that revenue stream to any great degree, except as it pays towards an employees benefit package.

And also to fund the war in Iraq, which does not benefit the Social Security Trust fund in any way.

The problem with Republicans is that they still live in the fantasy world of "Supply Side Economic"

Which only works if you can GUARANTEE that every cent that is given to those in the upper income will be invested back into a business in creating jobs or purchasing new plant equipment or opening new factories and stores. Which of course has not occured at all. Except where wealthy Americans too their tax cuts and invested them in China. China has benefited greatly from American tax cuts which were used to hire people in China, set up new factories in China, purchase new plant technologies, again in China.

For tax cuts to work, they must be targetted in such a way that those who get them have no choice but to spend them in the United States, and on businesses IN America.

If you cannot GUARANTEE that, the tax cuts will never work

Posted by: Chernevog | March 3, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

WOW, Republicans have been blaming Jimmie Carter and Bill Clinton for everything that has gone wrong during the eight years of George Bush and now they want to quickly assign blame to President Obama after one month in office. My question is when will Republicans accept any responsibility for anything that occurred during their watch?

Posted by: catmomtx | March 2, 2009 9:13 PM

If Pres. Obama signs the budget with the earmarks in it it becomes his. To say Bush must be held responsible for his 8 years(He must be held accountable)yet take the position that Pres. Obama is not responsible for something he chooses to sign is a strange position to take. Pres. Obama should demand the removal of the earmarks as he promised he would .

Posted by: saw1 | March 3, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

What you Obamamaniacs seem to forget is that it wasn't until after the '94 elections that the budget came in to balance. Clinton knew he couldn't get a deficit laden budget passed so he finally acted responsibly. It was also during Clinton's term that the Community Redevelopment Act was passed that forced banks to lend to people that couldn't afford a home. I know, I was there and I wrote some of those loans. We had no choice. If we turned them down then we faced sanctions by the government.

Your friends Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, along with your other buddies in the Democrat Caucus are directly responsible for the housing mess that we are currently in. When the government forces private businesses into bad practices, bad things are going to happen. And the bad thing is, is that Obama is using this as an excuse to shove an irresponsible spending program down our throats.

There is nothing in the stimulus bill that is stimulative. Government spending never stimulates the economy, it only grows the government. It's true that Bush is partially to blame for the deficits, but if you will take the time to read a little bit of recent history you will learn that he inherited a recession from Clinton also. It amazes me that you are so blindly loyal to someone that has no clue what they are doing. At least Bush had actually ran a business before he became President. Obama has never lead anything to speak of and his on the job training is going to cost us dearly.

I have to explain to my 13 year old son why we are destroying his country and I can't come up with a good enough explanation other than the selfishness of people in Washington and the rest of the country that care nothing about anything other than their political well-being.

You have successfully demonized the people in this country that actually make it work. The last time I checked the people that paid the bulk of the taxes in this country were the rich, and now you want to punish them by taxing them more heavily. It is counter-intuitive to punish the people that run the engine of the country. Rich people don't get rich by being stupid. They will find a way around paying higher taxes and it will soon be evident that raising taxes on them doesn't work. At least they will be avoiding the taxes in a legal manner, unlike half of Obama's appointees.

It will be a shame to watch these policies fail because I don't want my kids to suffer, but maybe once and for all we can prove in this country that punishing achievement is a sure way to economic ruin.

Posted by: mtporter2 | March 3, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It is incredibly tiresome having Republicans always trying to scuttle everything Obama. McCain knows very well that President Obama is trying to solve enormous problems which were not of his making, yet it is more important for McCain to score Republican points than to root for our country. I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone. Afterall, McCain picked Palin as his VP running mate.

Posted by: BooJa | March 3, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Look, it was a good column, but in Washington, DC, you have to do some sacrificing of good sense for political expedience, or else you'll find yourself marching in place back at square one. The enemy is the vested interest lobbies, and they are always in power. . . . . . You can't blast them out the way, you have to chip at them.

PS: This will be Bush's economy for at least the next two years. . . . . . And I believe Obama's emphasis on gettin wind and solar power on our electrical grid in a very big way, may well be the best stroke in healing our economy. Wind and solar are the cheapest energies by far and much cheaper than nuclear.

Posted by: Here2day | March 3, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Wheather you are a Democrat or a Republican. The results of the last 6 months of the leadership of this country has placed the American people in a position that they are building their own cage. The mere fact that billions of dollars have mysteriously evaporated, or that have been intended as a imediate remedy , yet with no accountable results! defies the reason of the people who believe that these elected officials are actually governing with "We the People" best interest. When the most basic of neccessities Lodging , food , health, and the well being of your fellow man are being blantantly neglected, and replaced with squandering pricless resources for ridiculous amenties that serve no reasonable solution. Then stand aside and let some people with some common sense govern, or prepare to be swept away in a sea of disgust.
You are either out of touch with mainstream America, or purging society and deliberately creating polarity that will result in revolution, is your end game.

Posted by: graymatter11 | March 3, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

"You will have to wait 5 or 9 years before you can declare what Obama’s economic legacy will be. Pretending that this budget mess belongs to Obama is just that, pretending." Yes 'Timothy2me' - we will have to wait 5 or 9 years before we can see Obama's economic legacy. Just like we need to wait a little longer to see what Bush's legacy will leave. We are just recently feeling the Clintonian legacy with the jobs being lost because of NAFTA.

Posted by: MDL7 | March 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

We are in a mess and BO does not know how to get us out of it. Congress surely does not. I do not profess to know the solution, but crooks and income tax evaders are not ones at the top of my list to take as advisers as the pres has done. Just throwing money at a problem will not help. Maybe the housing thing will do a job, but alot of people are out of a job so can not pay a mortgage, no matter how cheap it is. BO had no plan and has lied to us. He needs to be tried for treason.

Posted by: annnort | March 5, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

No, President Obama does not own the whole deficit yet. Americans know he's spending a lot of money to clean up the mess he inherited and he's budgeting a lot of War money that was hidden under the Bush Administration.

Americans are notoriously impatient, but they understand our new president cannot turn this listing Titanic around quickly.

Posted by: JohnInTexas | March 5, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

mtporter2 says:

There is nothing in the stimulus bill that is stimulative. Government spending never stimulates the economy, it only grows the government. ...I have to explain to my 13 year old son why we are destroying his country and I can't come up with a good enough explanation
It will be a shame to watch these policies fail because I don't want my kids to suffer, but maybe once and for all we can prove in this country that punishing achievement is a sure way to economic ruin.
If you don't want your kids to suffer, then stop believing in voodoo economics. Stop posting it to fool others into your false beliefs, too.

The truth is that your economic nonsense was overturned even as far back as the 1930s. But your and your party have been turning your backs on the proof for years, pretending to be children who believe they can make themselves invisible by squeezing their eyes shut.

Yes, government spending DOES stimulate the economy. Keynes proved this long ago in his classic "The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money". The governments of the world then proved it in action with the increased government spending of World War II.

Why, if it is well spent, then it even stimulates the economy efficiently, which is why people talk about a 'multiplier'. Every dollar spent on paying the workers on the project is then spent by the worker on other things, which multiplies the stimulus.

Besides: you shamelessly repeat robber baron propaganda, claiming that the rich got rich because they somehow deserve it, because they are 'smart', but what is 'smart' about a CDO? Or worse yet, about building your wealth on a castle in the air, an entire market in CDOs with a risk rating based on pure fiction?

Yet that is exactly what we had. It was when the market woke up to the stern reality that they suddenly realized they had no idea how much risk was really in each CDO. Then the bubble collapsed, dragging down the entire market and the entire economy with it.

What is 'smart' about that? How is that a positive contribution to society?

Wake up and smell the coffee: the robber barons getting rich off of CDOs were doing terrible damage to our whole society. They were not making any positive contribution at all. But the Bush regime blessed their criminal deception and hog-tied the regulatory bodies that might have put a stop to it.

That is why you and your Republican propaganda have lost all credibility now.

Posted by: Syllogizer | March 5, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse


This is Obama's budget not Bush's.

Second, this was started by giving $400K mortgages to people who make $11/hr, not a Republican idea.

This started with the collapse of Freddie and Fannie, Democrats protected them to the very end.

Posted by: joe_g | March 5, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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