Former Sen. Bob Kerrey famously said that Bill Clinton was "an unusually good liar. Unusually good." Well, then, President Barack Obama is an unusually bad liar. Unusually bad.
Obama said in his State of the Union speech (and similar statements several times since): "By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door."
Though it's true that the deficit for President George W. Bush's final year in office was close to $1.3 trillion, it must be noted that Obama and his fellow Democratic-controlled Congress members approved the TARP bailouts and are largely responsible for the other budget expenditures leading to that record deficit.
Plus, The Heritage Foundation's blog, "The Foundry," says that Obama's claims concerning the causes for that deficit are "clearly misleading." Despite those factors, "the budget deficit still stood at just $162 billion when the recession began in late 2007. The larger subsequent deficits have been driven by the recession (which Obama did acknowledge), the financial bailouts, the President's stimulus bill, and large discretionary spending hikes enacted by a Democratic Congress."
Also, there is major disagreement over Obama's assertion that Bush's projected deficits over the next 10 years were $8 trillion. But even if you let Obama slide on that claim, the more relevant comparison, as pointed out by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, is the annual average deficit for the 12 years that Republicans most recently controlled Congress -- $104 billion -- versus that of the past three years under the Democratic-controlled Congress -- $1.1 trillion.
Indeed, before the financial meltdown -- which was mostly caused by liberal mortgaging and housing policies -- Bush's deficits had been significantly reduced, even cut in half before he predicted they would be. In addition, Bill Clinton would never have been able to co-opt credit for those deficits or "his" surplus if not for the Republican Revolution and Contract with America.
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