Which is the decade of profligacy?

President Obama released his budget proposal yesterday in the Grand Foyer of the White House. He said:

Good morning, everybody. This morning, I sent a budget to Congress for the coming year. It’s a budget that reflects the serious challenges facing the country. We’re at war. Our economy has lost 7 million jobs over the last two years. And our government is deeply in debt after what can only be described as a decade of profligacy.

The fact is, 10 years ago, we had a budget surplus of more than $200 billion, with projected surpluses stretching out toward the horizon. Yet over the course of the past 10 years, the previous administration and previous Congresses created an expensive new drug program, passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy, and funded two wars without paying for any of it – all of which was compounded by recession and by rising health care costs. As a result, when I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.

I will set aside the question of the propriety and political wisdom of continuing to attack one’s predecessor more than one year after taking office. I will instead focus on the substance of President Obama’s argument, and in particular his claim of a “decade of profligacy.”

Medicare benefits and tax cuts

It is true that 10 years ago we had a budget surplus of more than $200 billion, and that CBO projected surpluses “stretching out toward the horizon.” When CBO built its budget baseline for 2001, they had not yet accounted for the bursting of the late 90s tech stock market bubble and the effect it would have on federal revenues. Like families, businesses, and investors, CBO made a mistake: they projected future revenue growth that was never going to occur. Critics of the Bush Administration hinge their comparative argument on this single mistaken budget projection which in hindsight analysts from both parties acknowledge was wildly inaccurate.

It is also true that President Bush proposed, and in 2003 the Congress passed and President Bush signed into law, a Medicare drug benefit that was not offset by other spending cuts or tax increases. It is true that this benefit significantly increased the already large unfunded liabilities of Medicare.

What the Democratic critics fail to mention is that the Democratic alternative proposal cost significantly more than the Bush proposal and the enacted law. (This predates Mr. Obama’s time in the Senate.)

What Republican critics fails to mention is that in the late 1990s a Republican-majority House of Representatives passed a Medicare drug benefit without offsetting the proposed spending increases. Senate Republicans offered their own version on the Senate floor, which again was smaller than the Democratic alternative. By the time then-Governor Bush began his Presidential campaign, there was a broad bipartisan Congressional consensus to create a universally subsidized prescription drug benefit in Medicare without offsetting the proposed spending increases. Bush joined that consensus and enacted it into law. Fiscal conservatives should direct their anger principally at House and Senate Republicans of the late 90s. (I worked in the Senate then, so I get blamed either way.)

It is true that President Bush proposed, and in 2001 and 2003 the Congress passed and President Bush signed into law significant tax cuts, and that those tax cuts were not offset by spending cuts or tax increases. If President Obama believes that enacting these tax cuts without offsetting their deficit impact was profligate, then why is he proposing to do the same thing? His budget proposes to change the law to extend all of the Bush tax cuts except those Team Obama mislabels as “for the rich.” He is not proposing offsets for those tax cuts he would extend. It is inconsistent to argue that Bush was irresponsible when he did it, and that Obama is responsible when he does the same thing.

Given my concessions, it must be true that the 00s were a decade of profligacy, and that President Obama’s policies will “restore fiscal discipline in Washington.” Right?


Let us examine the results of these so-called “profligate” policies during the Bush Administration, and let’s compare them to the deficits proposed by President Obama. I will compare eight-year Presidential terms rather than decades. In doing so I will assume that President Obama gets a second term, and that the budget he proposed yesterday is enacted exactly as proposed.

When doing this comparison one has to struggle with how to treat fiscal year 2009, which began October 1, 2008 and ended September 30, 2009. A traditional comparison would assign budgets for FY 2001 through FY 2008 to President Bush, and for FY 2009 through FY 2017 to President Obama, since usually the bulk of the laws signed in FY 2009 would be signed by President Obama.

But this would assign all the “blame” (deficit impact) of TARP to President Obama. I am therefore going to calculate deficits for President Bush including FY 2009, as those deficits stood on January 20, 2009 when he left office. In doing so, I am assuming the overwhelming majority of the TARP spending and their deficit “blame” to President Bush, even though he committed only half the $700 B TARP. In other words, I am skewing my analysis to be as generous as possible to President Obama in the comparison with President Bush. (Update: See below for a caveat on the light blue Obama bar, which also includes all of 2009.)

Here are the average budget deficits measured as a percent of GDP. As always, click on any graph to see a larger version.

You can see that budget deficits during President Clinton’s eight years averaged 0.8 percent of GDP. Clinton folks will tell you this is because of his brilliant policies, and in particular the 1993 budget law. I think most of it is the result of tech bubble-induced higher capital gains revenues causing total taxes to surge to record levels. We can have that debate another time.

If I measure President Bush for the nine year period 2001-2009, thus assigning almost all TARP spending to his Presidency, I get an average budget deficit of 2.7% of GDP. (Historical umbers are from OMB’s historical tables. Obama numbers are from Table S-1 in his new budget.) In calculating this nine year average I am adding the horrible FY 2009 into the Bush average, using CBO’s projection for the FY 2009 deficit of 8.3% when President Bush left office in January 2009. Bush therefore gets the deficit hit for most of the TARP, but Obama gets the hit for his stimulus law and the further economic deterioration when he was in office, both of which pushed the actual 2009 deficit to 9.9% of GDP.

You can see a black line within the Bush column. That’s at 2.0%, the average Bush deficit for the eight year period of 2001-2008.

Now let’s turn to President Obama. Remember, we are measuring his average budget deficit through FY 2017, assuming he stays in office for two terms and his new budget is enacted as proposed. I am also being generous by using OMB’s scoring of the President’s budget. CBO is always more pessimistic and would make the Obama numbers look worse.

President Obama’s proposed deficits over the eight-year period FY 2009-2017 are 5.9% of GDP, the light blue bar. That’s more than twice as large as the Bush nine year 2.7% average, and almost three times as large as the Bush eight year 2.0% average. Update: This calculation assumes the full 9.9% FY 2009 deficit in the average, thus it includes the TARP spending and in a sense overlaps with the Bush red bar. The TARP money is being counted with each of them. The next three bars “solve” this problem by excluding all of 2009 (including TARP and stimulus) from the Obama average.

I can imagine someone replying that it’s not fair to blame President Obama for the big deficits we are running as we recover from a severe recession. The next three bars therefore exclude the first one, two, and three years of an assumed eight year Presidency. Surely no one can argue that President Obama should not be held responsible for the budget deficits in years four through eight!

You can see that each of these comparisons, which allow you to “not count” the recovery years in the average for Obama, still result in average budget deficits that far exceed even the worst portrayal of the Bush Administration’s average.

In fact, the smallest annual deficit proposed by President Obama is 3.6% of GDP, in 2018 and 2019, the two years after his second term would end. The lowest during his hypothetical eight years would be 3.7% in 2017 and 2018. The lowest proposed budget deficits in a hypothetical “Obama decade” would exceed the Bush average budget deficit, even if we assign most of the TARP spending to Bush.

This leaves an open question: Which is the decade of profligacy?

76 thoughts on “Which is the decade of profligacy?

  1. Jeanie

    The new parlor game: Repeat any part of an Obama speech and show how the exact opposite is the truth.

  2. Stephan

    "Which is the decade of profligacy?"

    That's an easy one. 2001-2009. You can't start two wars and simultaneously enact two tax cuts plus give away unfunded benefits (Medicare prescription drug benefit ). From the days since Venice and Florence wars are funded by debt plus tax plus later tax increases and economic growth. Or bust. It is simply ignorant to do otherwise and pretend at home everything is easy going.

  3. Michael Dohrn

    My understanding is that budget practices and what is declared and not has changed since Obama took office, namely in that the cost of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars are now counted in the budget, where during Bush's turn with the wars, it wasn't factored into the deficit. I'm too much of a layperson to understand exactly what changed, but if that is not factored in, the math wouldn't be correct.

    I want to give Obama *some* slack. There's a real short list of presidents who came into such a dirty house. I voted for him and maintain that he excels at one of the truly vital aspects of the job, which is PR. We truly needed a good PR guy after Bush, but there's just too many unfulfilled promises!

    1. Keith Hennessey Post author

      Your understanding is incorrect. Since the mid 1970's all Presidents (and Congresses) have used a "unified" measure of the deficit, which incorporates all spending and all revenues.

  4. Steve V

    Yes, I just heard Rush Limbaugh going on at length about how small Bush's deficits were — but the costs of the wars were never included in them! Unless you go back and add the costs of the wars to the Bush budgets/deficits, you aren't comparing apples to apples.

  5. Andrew_M_Garland
    The Myth of the Clinton Surplus

    These facts are available at multiple links (Google: Clinton's Surplus). This shows how deceptive are the Democrats and big media. The Clinton surplus myth is repeated endlessly as a biased and untrue talking point.

    [edited excerpt] You will often read the claim that President Clinton balanced the budget and even ran a surplus. This is then used to underline the irresponsibility of the Bush administration. (And prove the true effectiveness of Democratic administrations -amg)

    Clinton claimed surpluses of $69, $123, and $230 billion for FY1998-2000. Clinton claimed that the national debt had been reduced by $360 billion (interestingly, not the sum of the yearly claims, which is $422B).


  6. Andrew_M_Garland

    There was never a surplus. In fact, the total national debt increased by $281 billion during those years. How can this be? The Public Debt and yearly deficits were paid down by borrowing money from the Social Security fund, rather than borrowing directly from the public. Clinton did not achieve a surplus and he didn't leave President Bush with a surplus. Actually, growing deficits began with a $133 billion deficit in the last Clinton budget, not in the first budget of the Bush administration.

    Analogy: Dad has a college fund for the kids (accumulated money from Social Security taxes) and a credit card (Public Debt). Dad spends more than he earns, and borrows from the college fund to cover the excess. Then he goes further, and borrows $281 more from the college fund to pay off some of the credit card. Dad talks to Mom: "We're doing great dear. Look, I have paid down some of the credit card." Dad doesn't tell her that the kids aren't going to college.

    1. Stephan

      Please! Your source? "Global warming is a global hoax" "Europeans are less wealthy" "Doctors won't treat you" … I like ridiculous conspiracy theories. Nonetheless as far as I'm aware off the Clinton surplus is even confirmed by CBO. Andrew I know it's tough for a Republican, but there's a reality beside a new tea party.

    2. Andrew_M_Garland

      To Stephan,
      You are not serious. I am puzzled by your response. I have posted my sources, and the posts at my blog include the sources. Maybe you don't like them, but just calling them ridiculous conspiracy theories is not persuasive.

      It is off topic, but if you think that Europeans are equally or more wealthy than Americans, that would be very interesting to me. Present some data rather than just calling me names. Show me tht socialist policies produce more wealth, along with social justice.

    3. Andrew_M_Garland

      My post listed above links to an underlying article for the detailed data. That is a convincing explanation to me. Did you take a look at that? Maybe you missed the link because it is in the first of the split comments above.

      The Myth of the Clinton Surplus

      The CBO data shows the Public Debt (treasury bonds outstanding) dropping under Clinton, but it also shows that the debt to the Social Security Trust fund increased by even more. The National Debt increased on net. That is also CBO data. Is that what you call a surplus?

      As an anonymous commenter, maybe you should give more facts and direct references rather than only your breathless opinion and slurs.

    4. Andrew_M_Garland

      My post listed above links to an underlying article for the detailed data. That is a convincing explanation to me. Did you take a look at that? Maybe you missed the link because it is in the first of the split comments above.

      The Myth of the Clinton Surplus

      The CBO data shows the Public Debt (treasury bonds outstanding) dropping under Clinton, but it also shows that the debt to the Social Security Trust fund increased by even more. The National Debt increased on net. That is also CBO data. Is that what you call a surplus?

      As an anonymous commenter, maybe you should give more facts and direct references rather than only your breathless opinion and slurs.

      1. Stephan

        Andrew. Cool down. Don't panic. My credentials: I'm a liberal European. Aka a Socialist or even worse a Marxist;-) We both know that it's possible to cook up any figures just for the sake of the argument. In regard to the Clinton surplus I'm at least not alone. You go along with your dubious blog entry source and I ride into the theatre with the IMF, OECD …

        Now about the off-topic theme Europe's wealth. This is also a matter of measurement. The US does not very well on the HDI index compared to Europe. Better on GDP per capita. But still socialist Norway and Luxembourg fare better. And once we factor in the GINI index the US even is worse on GDP per capita for the average citizen. Face it: the average citizen is better off in the EU.

        And obviously people elected Obama for this reason. So that average US citizens also benefit from the dynamic US economy. Unfortunately the broken US government system requiring super-majorities for even farting in the senate denies them their democratic wish.

      2. Andrew_M_Garland

        To Stephan,
        Please! Your source? (Do you remember that line?)

        You say: "We both know that it's possible to cook up any figures just for the sake of the argument." Are you announcing that you argue from cooked up numbers and facts? I might agree with you (smile). It is possible to use cooked up figures, but aren't you dedicated to a higher standard?

        On European wealth, you refer to a lot of data that you don't link to. There may be many indices based on different assumptions. How about starting with GDP and disposable income?

        Or, possibly you would concede immediately and say that GDP isn't really important, but some other more sophisticated measure is. Please anounce that as your program: "Less GDP, Less disposable income, but don't worry, there will be/is more happiness." Maybe you could support that with something other than your anonymous opinion.

        Really, I doubt I will convince you, and I suspect you feel the same about me. The point is, whose argument, facts, and style appeal more to the readers?

      3. Andrew_M_Garland

        To Stephan,
        Those links are a good start. Thanks.

        Would you care to make your argument about national wealth directly with the numbers? Which comparisons are you looking at, and what do they say? I think you are still a bit short by only supplying links to statistical data.

        Back to Clinton's Deficits, what is your complaint about the data?
        From Craig Steiner's article:

        The U.S. Treasurywebsite has a history of the debt since January 1993. The government's fiscal year ends on the last day of September, and Clinton's budget proposal in 1993 took effect in October 1993 and concluded September 1994 (FY1994). Here is the national debt at the end of each year of Clinton's Budgets:

      4. Andrew_M_Garland

        Fiscal Year National Debt Deficit
        Year Ending (billions) (billions)

        FY1993 09/30/1993 $4,411
        FY1994 09/30/1994 $4,692 $281
        FY1995 09/29/1995 $4,973 $281
        FY1996 09/30/1996 $5,224 $250
        FY1997 09/30/1997 $5,413 $188
        FY1998 09/30/1998 $5,526 $113
        FY1999 09/30/1999 $5,656 $130
        FY2000 09/29/2000 $5,674 $ 17
        FY2001 09/28/2001 $5,807 $133

        National debt went up in each year of Clinton's budgets, and increased sharply in the last fiscal year 2001. He ran deficits, not surpluses.

      5. Andrew_M_Garland

        (This is a better format)


        FY2000..09/29/2000..$5,674…………$ 17
        National debt went up in each year of Clinton's budgets, and increased sharply in the last fiscal year 2001. He ran deficits, not surpluses.

      6. Stephan


        Median Income in USD (PPP) [OECD]

        GINI Coefficient after tax and transfers

        While writing I'm starting to think it might be a bright idea to move to Luxembourg. Now let's look what the Congressional Budget Office says:

        Deficit (-) Surplus % of GDP

        That doesn't look for me like piling up deficits? You can check for yourself:

        And as far as I'm aware of 2001 the great decider G.W. was in charge. BTW can you post the link for the Treasury page where you gathered this mysterious data. Cheers.

      7. SteveinCH


        You're confusing median income with GDP per capita. Per capita GDP is the mean and the US leads all European countries on that measure. Doesn't matter because I don't understand the point of comparative arguments about which country is better.

        As to whether Clinton ran surpluses or deficits, it also doesn't matter. As I understand it, Clinton ran on-budget deficits but surpluses in SS (off-budget) made up the difference. Since the money taken from SS taxes was returned as US debt instruments, the total debt went up under Clinton even though he ran total budget surpluses. Government accounting is pretty obtuse sometimes.

        But regardless, if we want to use the Clinton/Republican Congress as a model for a sustainable fiscal model, let's go back to the spending and taxes we had under Clinton, about 20 percent on each side. Now the comparison is a bit unfair because a lot of tax collections under Clinton were bubble induced cap gains but leave that aside for the moment.

        The current CBO forecast and the administration budget both call for returning receipts as a percentage of GDP to the roughly 20 percent number that existed under Clinton. Sadly, both also call for spending to be in the 23 to 24 percent of GDP range. Thus, if Clinton is your model, the logical conclusion is we need to cut spending by 3 to 4 percent of GDP and allow the Bush and Obama tax cuts to expire Seems right to me.

      8. Stephan


        I used median income on purpose. And also the GINI coefficient. The question from Andrew was who's better off? And I think it does not make sense to use GDP per capita alone to judge on that. If you have a GINI of 0.75 and a nice GDP per capita so what? That only means the top percentiles are doing pretty well.

        Now in regard to Clinton. I do not want to further engage on that. I mean you can research the Financial Times, New York Times, even Wall Street Journal. No one will challenge that the Clinton administration run a budget surplus in the last years.

        Unfortunately Obama isn't in the position of Clinton. He inherited a budget deficit plus two costly wars plus a recession. He's in no position to cut spending. That's bitter. But look on the bright side. I'm pretty confident the US economy will grow and thus debt will shrink. And there's lot of room for moderate tax rises compared to the EU.

      9. Andrew_M_Garland

        To Stephan,
        My comment just above (where I say your links are a good start) have both of the links you reqest. They are the phrases in blue, standard hypertext links.

        As you say, Luxembourg is wealthy, and Netherlands and Switzerland are slightly ahead of the US. What is your policy analysis? How do we become as rich as Luxembourg? What policy is making them wealthier than the US in median income?

    5. Keith Hennessey Post author

      You are looking at "gross debt," which includes debt the government owes to itself. Almost all budget analysts (including me) instead look at "debt held by the public" which is how much the USG has borrowed from the private sector. Debt held by the public tends to be used across the policy spectrum.
      Debt held by the public did decline during the last several years of the Clinton Administration, when we were running unified budget surpluses. There is a debate about what caused these surpluses.

      1. Andrew_M_Garland

        To Keith Hennessey,

        The government borrows from (at least) two sources: The public (by selling Treasury bills), and the Social Security receipts. Both are debts that must be repaid or refinanced. Is it a fair analysis to applaud (say) a $10 decrease in the public debt, and ignore a parallel increase of $50 in the debt to Social Security? Can can you make fair policy comparisons if you don't count total spending and total debt?

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  8. Bill

    It is interesting to look at charts for a decade that has not yet arrived.

    Should we go back and create some charts at the beginning of the Bush administration that showed budget surpluses extending for a while and live in that future.

    What is the point of projecting that which you know will change and comparing the future to the past?


    1. Keith Hennessey Post author

      You need to have some form of projections for the future to make decisions. You know that those are wrong, but if they are unbiased, they are the best basis for decision-making.

  9. SteveinCH


    It's not Keith who is doing the projecting, it's the Obama administration. The numbers he is using are from the President's budget submission yesterday. Keith shows Clinton on the same chart and the numbers look a lot better.

    On the broader point, Keith, I actually think you are being overly fair to Obama by focusing on deficits rather than spending or at least not mentioning that while running those projected deficits, the administration proposes more than doubling the amount of money that the Federal government collects in tax revenues. I know your earlier post did this but it's a shame to lose that color from this argument.

  10. paul

    "What is the point of projecting that which you know will change and comparing the future to the past?"

    Because these are Obama's own projections even while he blames Bush for profligacy. Pretty simple.

  11. NewsViewsUSA

    Bill: you say' It is interesting to look at charts for a decade that has not yet arrived.'

    Yes, it is. After all, Mr. Obama is budgeting with 'projected' economic growth, and lower unemployment in mind. That hasn't arrived yet, either, eh?

    And we know how 'spot on', he's been with his projections.

    This is what we get for hiring a guy who is economically illiterate. Next time, let's elect someone who has owned, or run a biz, any biz, heck, even a deli, at this point.

    1. LFC

      Republicans had that guy in 2008, but they wouldn't support a Mormon.

      Of course George W. was dubbed the "MBA President", and we can see how much that helped. Maybe his two failed business ventures and the fact that his fortune was handed to him by daddy's friends should have given voters a clue.

  12. Jeanie

    This is fun, guys, but how about if you look at Keith's point? Obama is claiming that he's the penurious one compared to the Bush years. Is that true, with the information we now have? NO.

    Could it be true if something happens in the future to change the projections? Sure, maybe, but Keith is building his projections by using Obama's plans. If Obama were to look at his plans with a realistic eye (or an honest eye), he would also see what the charts show.

    No matter what Obama says, what he means is, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

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  14. Doug

    Ditto on the off-budget wars.

    Isn’t Medicare Part D still included in the Obama numbers?

    Wouldn’t you and every other Republican accuse Obama of RAISING taxes by letting the Bush tax cuts expire? But for the purposes of this analysis only, extending them is a tax cut? Heads GOP wins, tails Obama loses.

    Are we sure we can’t blame the low tax revenues that we’ll see from a poor economy until recovery is complete at least in part on Bush’s horrendous mismanagement?

    Not to mention that, at best, Bush did nothing for 8 years to avert the coming long-term budget crisis.

    BESIDES, isn’t the GOP supposed to be the party of smaller government and fiscal responsibility? Spending like drunken sailors but being a little better than Democrats if you twist the numbers a certain way doesn’t quite cut it for me. A fiscal conservative / social liberal like myself once had a real dilemma. The GOP’s complete abandonment of fiscal conservatism makes voting for Dems very easy nowadays.

    1. LFC

      Doug, here's a level-headed assessment of where the current deficit is coming from. Note the size of the Bush tax cuts, the unfunded wars, and the economic downturn (which can be firmly laid at the feet of Republican policy).

      This doesn't even take in to account all of the unfunded but increased outlays we're stuck with right now like Medicare Part D and other Bush-era spending.

      Basically, if Obama froze all spending right now, he'd be projected to have the worst deficits of any President. Only a hyper-partisan would fail to acknowledge that he was handed the vast majority of the problems.

      What the right-wing wants is for Obama to clean up the Republican created mess as quickly as possible. Then they want to scream about how he did it, use that to score political points, ride that pony in to power, only to start their cycle of corruption, knee-jerk tax cuts, and increased spending all over again.

      GOP = The Party of Borrow and Spend

      1. Andrew_M_Garland

        To LFC,

        I have heard, but have not verified, that Medicare C was less expensive than alternate propsals made by Dems at the time, and was criticized by Dems for being too low in benefits and spending. You may be able to clarify that claim.

        Also, if Medicare C is an expensive waste, why not immediately terminate/replace that program, independent of any larger health care reform? That would eliminate that part of the big, future deficits. Democrats would have that power now, and Obama would not have to live with that mistake.

      2. SteveinCH

        Sorry but this is another example of skewed analysis. All spending and foregone taxes are equally responsible for the deficit. If the government takes in Y and spends X and X>Y, how do you assign responsibility for the gap to one part of X? Easy, you do it to flag things you don't like or to put things in a context favorable to your policy preferences (thus, easy to see by CBPP did the chart the way they did).

        In the end, we don't have enough Y to cover X so we need to get more Y or get rid of X (actually we need to do both).

        Obama is now officially on record as wanting to extend roughly 2/3rds (in dollar terms) of the Bush tax cuts and keep Med part D (and close the donut hole). He doesn't have to do any of these things. He could propose canceling part D tomorrow and let all of the Bush tax cuts expire but he chooses not to. That's fine and it's his choice but he can't keep blaming the other guy if he extends the other guy's policies.

        Was Bush bad fiscally? You betcha. Is Obama on track to be a lot worse? He sure is.

  15. LFC

    Let's look at gross debt under Clinton and under George W to see the real picture, shall we?

    U.S. Debt 1993 (Clinton's First Budget in Place) – $4.411T
    U.S. Debt 2000 (Clinton's Last Budget in Place) – $5.674T
    Net Change: 28.6%

    U.S. Debt 2001 (Bush's First Budget in Place) – $5.807T
    U.S. Debt 2009 (Bush's Last Budget in Place) – $11.910T
    Net Change: 105.1%

    Any questions?

    1. SteveinCH


      Skewed analysis is skewed. So Clinton doesn't have to bear the burden of the 2001 budget but Bush does for 2009. In any event, I don't think anyone is going to argue that Clinton was fiscally a better President than Bush. So what?

      Keith's analysis says the same. It also says that Obama's budget is worse than either. Do you disagree with that perspective? If so, please let us know why

    2. SteveinCH


      Skewed analysis is skewed. So Clinton doesn't have to bear the burden of the 2001 budget but Bush does for 2009. In any event, I don't think anyone is going to argue that Clinton was fiscally a better President than Bush. So what?

      Keith's analysis says the same. It also says that Obama's budget is worse than either. Do you disagree with that perspective? If so, please let us know why

  16. Lynda

    How about we live within our means–whatever tax is collected is all we can spend? How about everyone (and I mean all citizens who get a paycheck, annuities, etc.) paying 15% in tax which goes directly into the Treasury? No tax forms, no deductions, just 15% off the top for the feds. No money may be borrowed from any foreign entity. If we cannot afford something, including wars of choice (not defense), then we can’t spend money on it. Stop pointing the finger of blame and get on with solving our problems without adding more. I guess that is just too dumb, naive, pathetic and downright cruel to contemplate.

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  18. Joe

    Wasnt the Bush tax cuts an across the board tax cut? You here it continually hailed by the left as a tax cut for the rich. I believe that almost everyone got a check in the mail. This is not to say that Bush was Mr Scrooge with the spending. Far from it. However he did cut taxes acorss the board. And lets not forget that the Dems have indeed help sway in the Legislative Branch for over 3 years now, and a TON of that spending happened under their watch. This president seems completely out of step with reality though. You cannot continue to preach to Americans at town halls about making tough choices, saving money, not blowing it in Vegas, et al, and then continue to run up massive amount of debt, for programs that we couldnt afford under normal economic conditions. That isnt partisan…its common sense. If it aint in the bank, dont spend it. Especially when you are insisiting that the population does the same.

    1. Joshua

      Basically all tax cuts are now engineered to be across the board. You need to look at the distribution of the tax cut to really judge it. For example, I could change the tax law so that everyone gets a dollar and those making >$200,000 a year pay 20% instead of 25%. There, everyone got a tax cut, but who is really benefitting? Of course I can do the exact same thing the other way. So saying an "across the board tax cut" is a meaningless statement.

  19. Jeanie

    I'm not sure how it makes Obama look better to complain that Bush overspent when Obama hasn't stopped any of that spending, and Obama plans to spend buckets and buckets more. And let's not forget that we're comparing Bush's record with a projection of Obama's FIRST budget. How many more expensive ideas will Obama have in his next seven years? Bush is finished; Obama is only getting started.

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