Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Obama Inherited a Mess Alright - One of His Own Making

I've posted a couple of times on why it isn't quite accurate to blame presidents for deficits. The simple fact of the matter is all spending bills orignate in the House of Representatives. This time though, President Obama rightly gets his share of the blame. Congress.org has an open letter to Harry Reid with the subject line "I'm Sick of Inherited", that makes exactly this same point. It rightly points out that the Democrat Party controlled House started the recent climb in deficits and as a Senator, President Obama voted in favor of the budget busting spending of the 110th Congress and as President signed the 111th Congress' spending into law.  Here is the letter in it's entirety, along with my favorite graphic illustration of the deficit timeline since 2000.

To:  Sen. Harry Reid

February 23, 2010

The Washington Post babbled again recently about Obama inheriting a huge deficit from Bush, blah blah blah. Amazingly enough, a lot of people swallow this nonsense.

So once more, I'll try a short civics lesson.

Budgets do not get approved by the White House. They are passed only by CONGRESS and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party. They controlled the budget process for FY 2008 and FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases. For FY 2009, though, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete FY 2009.

Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the FY 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for those budgets. If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I voted for and then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th.
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1 comment:

J. Thomas Hunter said...

The Bush policies grew government revenues for most of his presidency. Yes, he spent too much, but you're so right to point out how Obama has made the matter far worse. When it comes to Obama's fiscal policies I always think of an analogy: A house is on fire and Obama walks up to it and pours gasoline on it. We ask him, "What are you doing?!" and he responds, "The house was on fire when I got here."

It's so frustrating!