Thursday, July 28, 2011

Comparing Apples v. Moons

Andrew Leonard is still playing the "blame game," honking about our economic problems being all the fault of George W. Bush, as if that was somehow going to solve anything. It might get Obama reelected, but as to solving anything...

He points out that Bush policies have added $5.07 trillion to the debt, while Obama's have added a mere $1.44 trillion. He fails to mention that Bush was in office for eight years, while Obama has been in office for only two, so Bush added $0.63 trillion per year, while Obama has added $0.72 trillion per year. Given the state of the economy, that's a pretty ridiculous comparison, but so is the entire "blame game" exercise, so I'm not going to retract it.

Besides which, the chart only includes "programs" and doesn't include wars. Bush started two and escalated one, Obama has started three (Libya, Yemen and Somalia) and escalated two (Afghanistan and Pakistan). Bush ended the one in Iraq, Obama has ended none. Before you start screaming, troops are leaving Iraq on a schedule established by Bush, and the Obama administration is trying to extend that timetable.

And what is the point of merely examining "programs" anyway? We're talking about costs incurred here. When I go to the bank can I deduct accidental costs from the debts that I include on my balance sheet? No. The costs I incur are owed whether I planned to incur the costs or not.

Much is made about the disastrous effect of the "Bush tax cuts" on the economy, but Democrats controlled Congress for four years and the White House for two and never made the slightest effort to revoke those tax cuts, and only attempted to revoke a minute portion of them after they lost control of the House. Obama extended those tax cuts for two full years, so they are no longer properly the "Bush tax cuts," they are now the "Obama tax cuts." Democrats also cut other taxes repeatedly while in control of Congress, and Obama proudly cut the Social Security payroll tax.

None of that makes our current economic problems Obama's fault.

Failure to address those problems is the issue. Blaming is wasted energy, an exercise in useless remorse. Our time and effort needs to be directed at finding and implementing solutions.

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