Granted, a major portion of the high deficits under the Democratic Congress can be attributed to TARP, which the Bush administration proposed (and Democrats approved). But that was -- to borrow a Dick Cheney phrase -- a one-off event. Neither Bush nor his would-be successor John McCain had any intention of repeating TARP (which I'm not defending), and their goal was that the TARP monies be repaid -- and much of them reportedly have been. Republicans had no plans to impose an $800 billion "stimulus" package.
When Obama took office, he used that extraordinary, one-off deficit of $1.3 trillion as the new base line from which all future deficits would be measured, and he planned to treat any future annual deficit less than $1.3 trillion as a triumphant reduction. This isn't even sophisticated deception, but some people are still apparently buying it.
Obama, then, has used the extraordinary budget year as an excuse to spend even more wastefully -- with trillion-dollar-plus budgets in perpetuity -- and then disguise his profligacy with duplicitous rhetoric and such illusory policies as his anemic fractional discretionary spending freeze.
It's incredibly childish for Obama to blame his reckless spending on Bush, but have you considered how preposterous it also is? It is substantively untrue: Bush's extraordinary deficit year doesn't require Obama to continue on that path, converting a one-off event into a permanent, unsustainable affair. But more importantly, the issue is not who should be blamed for spending too much in the past, whether Bush or Obama. It's what we plan to do going forward to stop this hemorrhaging that will -- not might, but will -- destroy this nation if not turned around ASAP.
Even if Obama's misleading depiction were true -- that Bush, er, I mean Obama and the Democratic Congress, bequeathed him with annual $1 trillion deficits -- that would still not justify his intention to give us more of the same. Falsely blaming it on Bush -- or even accurately blaming it on Bush, if that were justified -- wouldn't add one dollar to retire the exploding federal deficit.
Bush has no control over what Obama is doing now. He is not making Obama implement bankrupting "stimulus" packages and soaring expenditures across the board (excluding the paltry, dishonest 17 percent discretionary spending freeze delayed until 2011).
It's as if your wife controlled your household finances the year before and ran up enormous debt, threatening your family's solvency, and when you took over the following year, you said: "Well, I'm going to spend more than she did even though it's my money, too, because she did it, so I can, too. We'll go bankrupt, but it will only be partially my fault."
Too bad we have to wait until 2012 to get a divorce.
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