It’s been pointed out over and over on Blue Virginia that the Republican Party and Willard “Mitt” Romney/Paul Ryan have repeatedly lied about President Obama’s fiscal policies. Bob Cesca has made another valiant effort today to get the truth out. Cesca titles his article, “Repeat After Me: Obama Cut the Deficit and Slowed Spending to Lowest Level in 50 Years.”
In January 2009, President Obama was handed a Republican-created deficit of $1.2 trillion and the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. In response and to avoid a depression, President Obama spent an additional $200 billion that year. The government also faced a sharp drop in federal revenue, as well as the continuing cost of two wars kept off-budget by George Bush to make his deficits seem lower.
To contain future deficits, Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress passed and signed the Statutory Pay As You Go Act of 2010, which mandated that new spending be offset with spending cuts or new revenue. That Clinton-era law was one reason the U.S. was able to achieve budget surpluses in the 1990’s because it forced discipline on federal spending. (Republicans had let Pay Go expire early in George Bush’s first term.) Guess how many Republicans voted against the new Pay As You Go law? All of them, including Paul Ryan.
The corporate media too often has allowed Romney and Ryan to lie and say that President Obama has accelerated federal spending at a rate not seen in history. That’s a blatant lie. Rex Nutting of MarketWatch, an affiliate of The Wall Street Journal, told the truth last May. “Spending under Obama grew by about $200 billion over four years, amounting to a 1.4 percent annualized increase.” So, where does the deficit come from?
There’s a simple answer to that. The revenue stream going to the government has been much smaller because of unemployment and the lower tax rates pushed by the Bush administration.
To repeat, President Obama raised federal spending less than any president in the last sixty years. The deficit is not one caused by massive new spending by the Obama administration. It has been caused by lowering tax rates in the first Bush administration (the revenue side), while not paying for massively expensive, ongoing things like two wars, an expansion of Medicare to cover prescriptions, the creation of a new government bureaucracy in Homeland Security, etc. (the expenses side).
That brings us to the second lie Romney has been repeating ad nauseum, the one about President Obama “doubling” the national debt. The truth is the President has lowered annual deficits from $1.4 trillion that he inherited to $1.1 trillion this year, with the deficit projected to be below $1 trillion next year.
As the recovery takes hold, we have to do far more to contain the national debt at a healthy level as the Baby Boomers continue to retire, but falling once again for the snake oil “remedy” of tax cuts for the wealthy and supply-side economics will only make the situation far worse. The Romney/Ryan economic plan is a recipe for disaster. Someone told me recently that, “at least Paul Ryan has a plan.” Well, lots of people have plans. Heck, even Hitler had a plan. Having a plan is is worse than meaningless if the plan is a bad one.