Ten years ago? Seriously?

Ten years ago? Seriously?

On Monday when releasing his budget the President said:

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.

This is a common refrain from the President and his team.


Argument: The previous administration and previous Congresses created an expensive new drug program – without paying for any of it.

  • Response 1: Yes, we did. At the time, Congressional Democrats tried and failed to create an even more expensive new drug program without paying for it. (Mr. Obama was not in the Senate at the time.)
  • Response 2: This Medicare drug program is ongoing. If the President thinks it is too expensive, then he should propose to make it less expensive. If instead he thinks it should be paid for, then he should propose other spending cuts or tax increases to offset the future costs. Pending health care legislation would instead expand this expensive benefit and pay for the expansion, but would do nothing about paying for the ongoing base costs to which the President is objecting. The past six years of deficit spending from this benefit is beyond President Obama’s control. The future spending is not. He could do this through reconciliation with 51 votes in the Senate.

Argument: The previous Administration and Congresses funded two wars without paying for it.

  • Response 1: The Obama Administration is continuing these wars without paying for them, and expanding forces in Afghanistan without paying for that.
  • Response 2: Two of those years were with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. There were legislative attempts to end the Iraq efforts, but none to end the Afghanistan efforts. I don’t remember anyone in the Democratic majority Congress (including then-Senator Obama) making a serious run at cutting other spending or raising other taxes to offset the war costs. Last year Rep. Obey proposed a war tax and was quickly silenced by his colleagues.

Argument: The previous Administration cut taxes for the wealthy without paying for it.

  • Response 1: Setting aside the mischaracterization “for the wealthy,” President Obama proposes to extend a significant portion of that tax relief “without paying for it.”
  • Response 2: If all the Bush tax cuts are left in place bracket creep will soon cause total federal taxes to once again climb above their historic average of just over 18% of GDP. Repealing these tax cuts would mean the government would be taking far more from the private sector in taxes than it has in the past. I believe taxes are not too low.
  • Response 3: Our medium-term and long-term deficit problems are driven by the growth of entitlement spending: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Raising taxes will not slow this spending, it will just buy us a few years of delay and slow economic growth.

Argument: The Bush policies caused a $200 B annual surplus and “projected surpluses stretching out toward the horizon” to turn into deficits.

  • Response 1: This argument always relies on one specific forecast which later turned out to be inaccurate. In January 2001 CBO projected a 2002 surplus of $313 B. One year later they projected a 2002 deficit of $21 B. Of the $334 B decline, CBO said 73% was from “economic and technical changes” beyond President Bush’s control. The other 27% was the result of legislation. The impact of policy over time was larger than in 2002 (about 60% over ten years), but it is still incorrect to attribute it all to policy, rather than to a combination of policy and incorrect forecasting.

Argument: As a result of these policies, when President Obama took office, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion.

  • Response 1: The 2009 deficit President Obama inherited was large (CBO says $1.2 trillion rather than $1.3 trillion), but this is principally the result of a drop in revenues resulting from the severe recession beginning in September 2008, and from more than $400 B of projected 2009 spending for bailouts of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the big banks, and other large financial institutions. Before the recession and financial collapse of 2008, annual budget deficits during the Bush Administration averaged 2.0% of GDP (which would be about $290 B in 2009), including the higher spending and lower revenues from the drug benefit, Iraq and Afghanistan, and tax cuts. President Obama is using one horrible year to mischaracterize the other seven.
  • Response 2: President Obama does not point out that his first major policy effort was to propose and enact an $862 B stimulus law without paying for it. (CBO has upped their estimate from the previous $787 B figure.) He did inherit a huge deficit, in large part resulting from the recession and bailout costs, and he immediately made it much bigger.
  • Response 3: There is nothing the President can do about the past accumulation of debt. He and a majority of the House and Senate can reduce or even eliminate future deficits if they are willing to make hard choices. Even a 41-vote Republican Senate minority lacks the procedural tools to block a deficit reduction reconciliation bill.

Argument: When President Obama took office, he faced projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.

  • Response: There is no delicate way for me to say this. The $8 trillion number is made up. In January 2009 CBO projected deficits for the next decade of $3.1 trillion. The President’s first budget played games by redefining the baseline to make the starting point look as bad as possible so that Team Obama could claim their policies would reduce the deficit. Don’t get me wrong — $3.1 trillion of projected deficits is still a huge bad number. At the same time, $4.9 trillion is a lot of gaming.

This debate about the past can continue ad nauseam. At some point I hope it ends, but the President and his team bring it up at every opportunity. It is strange for a President to complain repeatedly about ten-year old policies and then not propose to change them. More importantly, this debate is not relevant to the problems we face today.

Yes, President Obama faced some enormous economic challenges early in his term. His predecessor did as well, even before the crisis of 2008: a bursting tech bubble leading to a recession in 2001, an economic seizure caused by 9/11, corporate governance scandals in 2002, a recession in 2002-2003, the economic uncertainty triggered by invading Iraq (this one was a policy choice), and eventually oil spiking above $100 per barrel.

I think it’s OK for a President to talk about the challenges he and the Nation face. It helps to set reasonable expectations. I think a President should propose solutions to those challenges and describe a brighter future that he hopes to deliver. I think it’s tacky and tiresome for a President to keep bashing his predecessor, especially more than a year after taking office. I acknowledge that my perspective on this point is biased by my professional past.

I also think this refrain weakens President Obama. He is portraying himself as a victim of forces that are beyond his control. A President should want people to focus on him and what he’s going to do, not on a comparison of him with someone else (anyone else). President Obama should want people talking about the Obama Agenda rather than about what happened ten years ago. Ten years ago.

I suspect that many Americans are tired of the blame game, especially more than one year into a new Administration. Whatever your view of President Bush, his policies, and their results, America needs to look forward. We have big challenges ahead of us, and we need to propose, debate, vote on, and then implement solutions.

More than the blame game, this is what concerns me about the President’s economic agenda. The President’s own projections show that his policies will not fix the future problems he identifies. Based entirely on numbers from the President’s just released budget, America will see the following results if all of his policies are implemented as proposed and work as projected:

  • an average unemployment rate this year of 10.0 percent;
  • an average unemployment rate in 2012 of 8.2 percent;
  • a budget deficit this year of 8.3% of GDP;
  • a budget deficit that at no point in the next decade dips below 3.6% of GDP;
  • debt/GDP increasing from 64% now to 77% in ten years;
  • the size of government, measured by both spending and taxes, climbing to historically high shares of GDP;
  • three problems identified by the President (I do not necessarily agree that each of these is a problem):
    • continuing the expensive Medicare drug program without paying for it;
    • continuing the efforts in Iraq and expanding them in Afghanistan without paying for it;
    • continuing much of the Bush tax relief without paying for it; and
  • not measurably slowing the long-term growth of the major entitlement programs.

These are the results if the President’s policy program is successfully implemented.

I agree with the President that he inherited a tough situation, although I disagree with his explanation of the causes. Our fiscal car is driving toward a cliff. To avoid the cliff, the President might want to turn the wheel left, and I might want to turn right. At the same time, President Obama has the wheel. Complaining about the previous driver won’t prevent us from driving off the cliff. I hope the President will soon stop focusing on the last decade, and instead propose solutions for the next one.

56 responses

  1. Pingback: Timing « I Think ^(Link)……

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  3. Good list Keith. People tend to miss that the large ($200b+) 'surplus' in 2001 was not a real surplus, it was a prediction that turned out to be way too high. You can't spend money you never had. But, as you say, we need to spend our time talking about the future.

  4. Good points, but many arguments here conflate responsibility for action, and responsibility for the situation. The war in Afghanistan is a perfect example. He was not responsible for starting the war, but to suggest that he is "continuing these wars without paying for them" suggests that he could end the war tomorrow if he chose to. The geopolitical considerations for ending the war go far beyond this budget discussion, of course. So here he is: saddled with trying to responsibly handle (end?) what he didn't start (not pejorative – just stating the facts) yet being attacked for the consequences of being there in the first place.

    He's not accountable for the fact that the war started. He's accountable for handling it now.

    He's not accountable for the fact that the economy died. He's accountable for handling it now.

    If the Republicans continue to scream about the deficits, he's right to remind them what parts of the deficit were not caused by his policies. This is a political response, in response to a political attack. It also speaks to what policies should be address going forward – if Republican economic policies got us into this mess, then it's disingenuous to suggest that a return to those policies is our way out.

    Finally, the most important point this post in this one: "Our medium-term and long-term deficit problems are driven by the growth of entitlement spending: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." Obama's health care plan addresses the problem, at least in part, by eliminating no-bid private plans ($316B) and taxing wealthy recipients ($318B). Obama is trying to address the elephant in the room. What is the Republican solution to these problems? Tax cuts?

    To suggest that Obama is recounting Bush's financial legacy to avoid current responsibility is fallacious. It's a proper response to the Republicans' attacks. Further, we have to remember what got us to where we are if we are to hope to correct the problem going forward.

    • Mark,

      How does Obama's health care plan address the entitlement issue. First is creates a larger obligation for health care than it currently has (increasing government's base spending). Then, it uses a series of offsets that could be used to pay down the deficit to the extent they are real (I'm dubious about the Medicare savings) to pay for additional benefits instead.

      In my opinion, it is fair to say that, even as scored by the CBO, the health care plan increases the debt from what it could have been by $1 trillion. The offsets frankly have nothing to do with the policy. You could implement the offsets without the spending should you choose to do so. But he does not.

      Oddly enough, he campaigned on exiting Iraq precipitously and has decided not to do so. He certainly could have made this decision. Additionally, in the context of a 1.6 trillion deficit, the $150 billion on Iraq and Afghanistan is not exactly the root cause.

      Finally, the man has been President for a year. All policies are his policies now. Was he dealt a difficult hand, yes he was. But Bush has no decision-making authority anymore.

    • This comment reflects your obvious perturbation that Hennessey is criticizing a politician you support and wish to defend, but your defense misses the point. We'll grant you Iraq and even Afghanistan: Obama didn't start either war but is right to continue them rather than pulling out to satisfy extremists. He gets a pass on complaining that his hands are tied.

      But Hennessey's point was about the hypocrisy of decrying your predecessor's unfunded spending and then making that predecessor look like an amateur at the same game.

      • Cont… If Obama is so concerned about large deficits, he can address them — and through reconciliation, if he wishes. Or he can wait a few years, until he's comfortable that the Keynesian cannon can be stowed safely.

        But he shows no signs of doing either. He is instead proposing to worsen the debt problem substantially, adding new sinkholes alongside Social Security, Medicare (which Obamacare pretends to cut in order to spend on a different entitlement, but which Democrats of the near future will not tough to anywhere near the extent the current healthcare bills advertise), Medicaid and, yes, discretionary spending (always waved off as insignificant in order to cover the massive unfunded increases Obama has pushed across the board).

        You never contradicted the central point: "It is strange for a President to complain repeatedly about ten-year old policies and then not propose to change them." You're merely supporting the blame game out of partisan reflex.

    • This comment reflects your obvious perturbation that Hennessey is criticizing a politician you support and wish to defend, but your defense misses the point. We'll grant you Iraq and even Afghanistan: Obama didn't start either war but is right to continue them rather than pulling out to satisfy extremists. He gets a pass on complaining that his hands are tied.

      But Hennessey's point was about the hypocrisy of decrying your predecessor's unfunded spending and then making that predecessor look like an amateur at the same game.

  5. I suggust you check the data. The budget was not forcast to be in surplus– it actually was in surplus.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts..

    How do you really expect anyone who knows the actual facts to take you seriously when you start your argument with such dishonest analysis. but I should have known that already, i came here from Mankiw.

    • Please deign to explain that if there was a budge surplus, how did the debt increase? If you look at the annual debt figures from 1990-2009, there is not a single year-to-year period in which the debt decreased. Not sure where you learned your facts, but that reeks of deficit to me. A quick run over the last 59 years worth of data shows that in only 3 years did the US National Debt decrease (a true surplus); these are 1950-51, 1955-57.

      For reference (annual public debt outstanding):
      2000-2009: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/his
      1950-1999: http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/his

      • Nathan,

        Keith has covered this in other places. The increase was in the non-public debt, that is, the debt the government owes to itself.

        Said differently, Clinton ran unified budget surpluses but also borrowed from the SS trust fund so debt was added but it was money the government owed itself.

      • Yes, well, that is an awful lot like taking a second mortgage on your house in order to pay your credit card. Net result: there's still a debt to be paid.

        It's also a great consolation to see the government robbing funds from one fund to pay for another "when times are good".

        Social security taxes are supposed to pay for social security and not the general ledger. If social security taxes & likewise medicare taxes are not truly going to be set aside and isolated for their intended purposes, they ought to just be integrated into the general income tax, as the "transparency" of their isolation has already been lost.

        At the end of the day, the argument still holds. If the only way the government can post a "surplus" is to borrow against surplus funds from another "isolated" account; it's not truly a surplus. At the end of the day, the debt is still owed; even though the debt, in some cases, may be deferred.

  6. "I think a President should propose solutions to those challenges and describe a brighter future that he hopes to deliver."

    Agreed, but everyone needs to get a grip on the size of the problem. The "brighter future" will only come after a significant period of pain. There is no way to balance the budget and reduce the debt without significant reductions in services AND raising taxes. Enough of this "we'll grow our way out" garbage — that only works if the revenues from the growth are not spent on more programs.

    "Our fiscal car is driving toward a cliff. To avoid the cliff, the President might want to turn the wheel left, and I might want to turn right."

    There is another more important option missed — apply the brakes and simply stop! No new spending, no tax cuts (actually need tax increases), no anything until the budget is balanced — and not balanced on some 10-year fantasy of growth, but just like I balance my personal budget by (mostly) cutting costs and raising revenue.

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  8. Your point about debating/blaming 10 year old policies is ironic in that I wish I had a penny for every conservative idiot that blames the financial meltdown on Jimmy Carter and the CRA of 1978..thats an almost 40 year old policy, but my oh my how conservative radio bleats on endlessly about how its not Bush's fault but rather "minorities" getting mortgages they couldn't afford.

    When the Republicans finally got handed the axe after wandering the wilderness from 1932-1980, they have used it as a cudgel to hack at the roots of the New Deal (S&L debacle, gutting of Glass Steagall, bankrupting tax cuts to the wealthy -twice 80s/00s) away with the predicable results of economic catastrophe.

    Just Google Pecora hearings or read this from FDR stump speech of 1936 to realize we will never progress until conservative free market policies are destroyed. FDR from 1936:

    What was our hope in 1932? Above all other things the American people wanted peace. They wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.

    First, they sought escape from the personal terror of the Depression which had stalked them for three years. They wanted the peace that comes from security in their homes: safety for their savings, permanence in their jobs, a fair profit from their enterprise.

    Next, they wanted peace in the community, the peace that springs from the ability to meet the needs of community life: schools, playgrounds, parks, sanitation, highways‹those things which are expected of solvent local government. They sought escape from disintegration and bankruptcy in local and state affairs.

    They also sought peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of wild-cat speculation…..

    • "we will never progress until conservative free market policies are destroyed."

      I'm going to take a wild guess: you're principle area of study is something other than economics.

      • Enough whining about grammatical errors. This isn't Mrs. Ausberry's 8th grade English class. Stick to the subject. If you're going to argue with other posters then have legitimate arguments about the economic analysis presented or stfu.

      • Mike,

        Here's an economic argument….I am 78 years old….in my lifetime we never had any hint of financial meltdown, because of New Deal legislation and the consensus thereafter that Wall Street must be contained.

        In the 80s, the S&Ls were decontrolled and we say the results….in 99, Glass Steagall was repealed and 8 years and $9 trillion dollars down the drain we have learned a lesson my generation learned a long time ago.

        Now, moron, what don't you friggin' understand?

        Let me simplify it for you: Republican deregulation BAD, Glass Steagall GOOD.

        Please rebut this with the usual conservative tripe that all but ignores reality as you will undoubtedly defend the failed policies by obfuscation and blaming it on other unrelated issues.

        Your turn.

      • I won't speak to whether Glass Steagall being in effect would have stopped the financial meltdown – but will just mention that the repeal (i.e. Graham-Leach) was signed by Clinton. The repeal came after a party line vote in the senate and was passed bipartisanly by the congress and overwhlemingly 90-8 in the senate after conference. Furthermore – Jim Leach – one of the sponsors of the bill that repealed aspects of Glass-Steagall broke party ranks and endorsed Obama, was an economic advisor to him and spoke at the 2008 DNC.

        I agree that it is simplistic and silly to think that CRA was the whole story – but it seems very clear that it contributed both in terms of creating poorer loan standards and more importantly by starting the process where people started selling off loans at wholesale rates to either Fannie and Freddy or other institutions.

        If we just assume that passing Glass-Steagall once again will keep anything like this from happening again we will be in just as much trouble as if we think repealing the CRA will avert the next problem.

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  10. "The $8 trillion number is made up."

    That is not true. The $8 trillion number comes from assumptions the OMB makes that the CBO does not:

    – Medicare annual doc fix
    – AMT annual fix
    – Annual disaster funding
    – Actually having Iraq/Afghanistan funding on-budget
    – Keeping the middle-class tax cuts

    The $8T deficit is a much more realistic expectation of real policy outcomes, which the CBO cannot forecast because it is only allowed to reflect current statue. Every single possible combination of Congress and President would have nearly the same policy in these areas. To say that this figure is simply made up is just not true.

    If we want to start making tough choices in areas like Medicare it doesn't exactly help that the very moderate savings the Obama administration has proposed are eviscerated by the GOP. Rep. Ryan wants to privatize Medicare, but good luck getting more than a handful of the GOP to vote for that. If the problem is entitlement spending, then it is still true that Obama inherited significant deficits.

    I disagree the problem is entitlement spending. It's two-fold. First, we had irresponsible budgeting under the GOP's "governance" that set the stage for the deficit to explode when revenues fell. Second, revenues dramatically fell just like in any recession; it is reasonable for the government to run very high deficits in the short-term during a recession. The idea that this has anything to do with irresponsible appropiations just doesn't stand up to muster. However, our deficits would not be as deep had the Bush administration been more fiscally responsible.

    • The "savings" Obama proposed were actually cuts to Medicare and that money would be used elsewhere. It wasn't going to be "saved"… just spent on something else.

      And THAT is what the GOP eviscerated.

      • Bzzzzt! Where did you glean this factoid RBill? I suggest at least washing it off before you wave it around in public.

        The CBO projected the health care bill would save trillions over the next two decades largely by eliminating perverse incentives in the private insurance market. Of the essential elements of that was a Republican idea, or at least one embraced by John McCain during the election: the excise tax. Others included increasing competition in the insurance market through the exchanges and reducing the power of private insurance companies to 'compete' by over-insuring the healthy and pricing out and ressising the sick or prone to be, thus redirecting their efforts toward less lucrative but more socially helpful activity of providing good health care cheaply. In any case, all of the savings in the health bill, including those strictly by cutting Medicare Advantage payments and other Medicare outlays, are net of subsidies that are spelled out in the bills. So what it is you are describing here, I've no idea.

      • I enjoy this. The CBO estimates on the savings of health care reform were based upon 5 years of services against 9 or 10 years of taxes to pay for them. There was no savings except in cutting funding rates to Medicare providers which would have resulted in increased fees to the private insurance market. In reality over a 10 year period this was about a $2.5 Trillion increase in spending. Outside of the discussion about equalizing the tax treatment of benefits there is nothing in your statement that is correct. You need to stay within your area of expertise before you get ahead of yourself. You know nothing of the health care market and it shows.

    • Thank you Mr. Jensen.

      Apologies that there is no delicate way for me to say this, but Hennessy is lying through his teeth. He knows full well where the $8tn number comes from, and that it is entirely legitimate, (unlike the woefully gimmick laden budgeting practices of the Bush administration), as per the precise points that John Hensen has here laid out. This is why he proffers no argument as to its illegitimacy, merely asserts that the "[Obama] budget played games by redefining the baseline". Truly pathetic.

      More pathetic is that Hennessey is not only not hiding in a cave in the Yukon, but is actively defending an administration that allowed the largest and most destructive investment bubble in the history of the planet to form. The busted federal budget was just one of the casualties of that gross negligence of fiscal, regulatory and monetary policy. There are too many others to recount, including all manner of massively misdirected resources and opportunities lost. A case can even be made that part of the blame for many other current geopolitical problems can be laid at this administration's door.

      The real question is, have you no shame sir?

  11. this line stands out for me:

    President Obama is using one horrible year to mischaracterize the other seven.

    This analysis would make sense if this horrible year was somehow totally independent from the other seven. But in fact, it was not. It was at least in part due to policies put in place during the first 7 years. If you are not going to take the blame for the 1 horrible year, then you cannot take any credit for the illusory growth during the first 7, either

  12. "I think it’s tacky and tiresome for a President to keep bashing his predecessor, especially more than a year after taking office."

    Was it tacky and tiresome for Reagan to blame Carter for his first 3-4 years in office?

  13. The premise of Obama and his allies seems to be: " When Republicans overspent, it was Republicans' fault. When Democrats triple that overspending rate, it's still the Republicans' fault."

    This childish avoidance of accountability is a large reason that political independents are fleeing Obama and why Democrats representing moderates states and districts have generally fallen into into desperate political trouble. The irreducible bottom line for Obama is that he entered office facing a bad fiscal decision and has knowingly made it much worse. A person here said that Obama's healthcare "reform" would ameliorate future federal deficits. This is the kind of statement that suggests either a studious mendacity or epic naivete. You do not solve the basic problem of government overspending on entitlement programs by having the government create even more massive new entitlement programs.

    The complete absence of common sense (and disconnect from reality) evident in so many of Obama's plans (from the "stimulus" to the hare-brained plans to try KSM in NYC t) is not just stunning, but deeply worrying. The only thought that seems to go into this administration's weighty decisions is the strictly political. Namely, assuaging the left-wing base.

    And the worst part of Obama bad record is his anti-business pathology. He is a self-righteous scold who believes he knows best how business should operate, even though his own private business experience (and that of his cabinet) is nil.

    Obama and his followers do not understand that when you make war on business, the main victim is the consumer and, ultimately, labor. Why should an employer take risks and hire anyone during the Obama years? Has Obama given that employer a single macroeconomic reason to do so?

    We are in a mess. The first priority must be achieving sustainable, real economic growth on the order of 5-6 percent per year. This will not by itself guarantee that we avoid the coming fiscal trainwreck, but unless we achieve and sustain robust growth we have no hope of avoiding it. (And, no, inventory replenishment over one quarter is not sustainable growth!)

    You do not get to that kind of growth by taxing people in Florida to fix potholes in Iowa, or by taking money from people in Arizona to make sure school teachers in Philly keep their jobs. Local public works should take care of themselves and we should not give goodies to the bloated and comparatively overpaid public employee unions that have brought formerly great states like California and Michigan to insolvency. Yet giving such goodies to political favorites has been the typical Obama response to the nation's economic woes.

    You get to the needed level of growth from removing from business decision-markers the fear that Obama has caused. Unfortunately, Obama is so stridently anti-business in rhetoric and policy, we may not begin to improve the business climate without a decisive change in the political equation.

    After all, Barack Obama seems to believe that the purpose of private business and profit is to fund his vision of a government-led economy. The business people of America have declined to be part of that leftist scheme, and they will continue to do so until they have reason to believe that government is no longer the enemy of private prosperity.

  14. @Mark Shacket; "…most important point "Our medium-term and long-term deficit problems are driven by the growth of entitlement spending: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." Obama's health care plan addresses the problem, at least in part, by eliminating no-bid private plans ($316 B) and taxing wealthy recipients ($318 B) . Obama is trying to address the elephant in the room. What is the Republican solution to these problems? Tax cuts? … To suggest that Obama is recounting Bush's financial legacy to avoid current responsibility is fallacious. It's a proper response to the Republicans' attacks. Further, we have to remember what got us to where we are if we are to hope to correct the problem going forward. Wrong wrong wrong. Unless you support massive government expansion first banks, then automotive, then healthcare next the Wacko cap and tax. How about fiscally responsible goverment, managing the economy as if you have ever cut a payroll tax of your own and not blaming the guy before you for problems you now own. It's been a bloody year and still pointing fingers …. the reason this continues is Obama's huge loss in the polls and need to cast blame elsewhere.

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  17. "The Obama Administration is continuing these wars …" that he has established time lines to bring to an end. How is it possible for someone to miss such a basic point and be taken seriously? It is tacky and tiresome for commentators to omit facts when advocating their political beliefs.

    • Give me a break. Talk is cheap, if he wanted to the Commander in Chief could start withdrawing the U.S. military tomorrow. He has chosen not to, and the result has been higher spending.

  18. Excellent points Keith and thank you for providing this.

    I will keep this as a clue bat for disgruntled libs who like to fudge numbers to cover for the emptiness of "Hope & Change" promises; we used to those lies.

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