Your Opinion: Current problems attributed to Bush
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Republicans and some letter writers in these pages decry the fact that the U.S. debt has risen so much during President Obama’s term. The fact of the dramatic debt increase is true, but it is not because of Obama.
When President Clinton left office the federal budget was running a surplus and total debt as a percentage of GDP had declined 9 percent. (http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms)
That all changed under President Bush. He instituted tax cuts that have cost the U.S. around $1.5 trillion in reduced revenues. (“Revisiting the Costs of the Bush Tax Cuts,” 5/10/11, www.washingtonpost.com)
He started an unnecessary war in Iraq that has cost the U.S. around $3 trillion. (“The True Cost of the Iraq War,” 9/5/10, www.washingtonpost. com)
He de-regulated the investment banks and failed to regulate the mortgage industry resulting in a financial crisis and a deep recession. As a result the unemployment rate doubled from 5.0 percent in December 2007 when the recession started to a peak of 10.1 percent in October 2009. The rate is now 9.1 percent. (Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data. bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000)
It is hard to put a dollar cost on the rise in unemployment but it has to be high. People who are out of work don’t pay taxes and they consume benefits like unemployment compensation and Medicaid. They reduce consumption expenditures which slows the economy even further.
These chickens (tax cuts, war and recession) were set in flight by Bush and came home to roost during Obama’s term.
To argue that the rise in U.S. budget deficits and total debt were caused by Obama simply because they happened on his watch is to ignore the facts. The facts show that the causes of our current fiscal problems were attributable to the policies of the Bush Administration. They just took a while to germinate.
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