Conservatives keep asking me how long I’m going to blame George W. Bush for our current economic woes. The answer is — forever. The historical record doesn’t change just because time passes. A hundred years from now, it will still be true.
Let’s review one more time. Former policy wonk to Reagan and Papa Bush, Bruce Bartlett, lays out the facts on the deficit:
Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 – enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.
Tax cuts and slower-than-expected growth reduced revenues by $6.1 trillion and spending was $5.6 trillion higher, a turnaround of $11.7 trillion. Of this total, the C.B.O. attributes 72 percent to legislated tax cuts and spending increases, 27 percent to economic and technical factors. Of the latter, 56 percent occurred from 2009 to 2011.
Read that last line carefully my dear critics. It’s not saying Obama is responsible for over half of the deficit. It’s saying the greatest part of the blame is still on George W. Bush.
Conservatives, who bought into his bookkeeping trickery, gave Bush eight years to screw up the economy. I remind you that at the end of his tenure, Bushenomics pretty much wiped out the savings and other accumulated weath of the middle class while enriching a relative handful of the ultra-wealthy.
Mitt Romney is pledging to rescind all the repairs President Obama has been able to make in the last three and half years on behalf of economic fairness and return to those same failed Bush era policies. Which would be very good for Mitt Romney and his super wealthy friends. For the rest of us, it would be the same disaster all over again.