Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elephant's Memory

Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) opined yesterday that the conservative media has blown the current fiscal crisis out of proportion.

"The Rush Limbaugh's and the echo chambers around the country have really manufactured this," he said, comparing it to the Y2K crisis. "This crisis has been manufactured to scare people so that we will do something here in a hurry."Harkin said it's "like hostage-taking," and added that the conservative media has "confused people deliberately in order to try to get their way."

I think that I can respectfully both agree and disagree with Senator Harkin. We are in a deep financial mess but it has been a long time coming and the current rending of garments and gnashing of teeth by the Republicans is both disingenuous and self serving.

Take a look at the deficit trajectory noted in the graph. Bush II started his presidency with a surplus, remember?

President Obama has certainly added to the deficit, as I will show you on the next graph. But his points about unfunded wars and the consequences of Bush tax cuts need to be taken into consideration.
“Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.”
“Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes.”
— President Obama, interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” recorded on Sept. 12, 2012, and aired on Sept. 23
What galls me is the convenient Republican short term memory about what got us into this hole. Senators McConnell and Graham are drawing a line in the sand like drama queens about their intentions to hold the purse strings tight on the next debt ceiling. Their sanctimony is appalling. They raised the debt ceiling nineteen times during the Bush years without any Democrats engaged in similar, hysterical hostage taking or histrionics.

Is it just me or doesn't it seem tawdry to you that the GOP can spend like a sailor on leave at a cheap Tijuana bordello and then decide to finally put their foot down and get sanctimonious when the other guy is in charge? Spare me the theatrics. Now we got Obama at the helm. Now it's a crisis.

Bush took a 128 billion dollar Clinton surplus and put us in the hole $4.9 trillion and Obama has brought the figure up to $5.4 trillion according to PolitiFact. Look at the graph, people. Who are the out of control spenders?

People can argue about the 2009 numbers but the CBO had already projected a $1.4 trillion dollar deficit for the year before Obama even took office.

It is admirable that the Republicans are concerned about our large deficit. We all need to be. But Tom Harkin is right, there is something quite fishy and hypocritical about their timing. Sort of like a whore that's been saved and now wants to talk about virtue.

6 comments:

Sanoguy said...

I agree with you 200%. How short their memories are. Also, people need to keep in mind that turning around our financial ship of state is like turning a huge oil tanker. That is not easy nor is it fast!!!

Sanoguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Bauch McHargue said...

This photo of the beautiful fish and its ghostly observer is gorgeous.

Blue Heron said...

Thank you Helen. I am very fond of it. A chance moment down at Scripps.

Anonymous said...

To call these guys whores is profoundly disrespectful...

...to sex workers. They have enough problems as it is, there's no need to associate them with this kind of destructive grandstanding & hostage taking.

Jon Harwood said...

In the Bush days Cheney said that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter" as the war bill ran up sky high. Republicans do seem to be the folks that run the deficit up sky high for military spending as it allows them to become conscience stricken deficit worriers when social safety net spending is at issue. It is dumb but so far the public has been just as dumb in accepting the behavior.