Let’s get one thing straight before we start: George W. Bush was not perfect. As a conservative, I disagreed with “No Child Left Behind” and the prescription drug bill. Both were liberal policies that were ill-conceived and cost too much. However, I believe history will give Mr. Bush a lot more credit than many do today.
Unfortunately, the former president has provided the Dems with a couple of straw-men to hide behind that have been left largely untouched by republicans. These straw-men are that “George Bush wrecked the economy” and/or that it was his deregulation that caused the economic collapse. On the latter point, there isn’t one actual policy of George Bush’s that anyone can point to that caused the economic collapse. And the liberal talking point about “deregulation” is just that: a talking point. It has no basis in fact because there were no regulations that were done away with that had anything to do with the collapse. The idea that the Bush Administration deregulated anything that led to the collapse is a complete myth, and if you push any liberal on what specific deregulations they’re referring to, they won’t be able to come up with any.
The former point, that Bush generally “wrecked the economy” with his policies, has been trumpeted by our current president since he began his run for the presidency. Barry has stated time and time again that he “inherited” an economy wrecked by the policies of the Bush Administration and that Bush took a budget surplus from Bill Clinton and created a trillion dollar deficit. Now, it’s possible, or even likely, that conservatives are ignoring these claims simply because they can. After a year and a half of unmitigated failure on the part of B.O. and a Dem-controlled Congress, why unnecessarily dredge up the unfriendly past? Barry isn’t scoring any points by continuing to blame his predecessor. Nevertheless, I’ve always found the claims that Bush wrecked the economy to be frustratingly over the top. Well, Brian Riedl of the admittedly conservative Heritage Foundation agrees. He’s authored an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal about the Bush economy, and I recommend you read all of it. Since I have read it, however, I’ll provide some highlights below:
1. Bush tax cuts ruined Clinton surplus. Simply put, there never was a surplus. It was based upon CBO forecasts that assumed, as liberals often do, and unrealistic utopia.
[The surplus projection] assumed that late-1990s economic growth and the stock-market bubble (which had already peaked) would continue forever and generate record-high tax revenues. It assumed no recessions, no terrorist attacks, no wars, no natural disasters, and that all discretionary spending would fall to 1930s levels.
And those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that the libs continue to scream about to this day?
Specifically, the tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 are responsible for just 4% of the swing. If there were no Bush tax cuts, runaway spending and economic factors would have guaranteed more than $4 trillion in deficits over the decade and kept the budget in deficit every year except 2007.
2. The deficit is the result of Bush’s policies. You really should read the actual article for all the nitty-gritty details, but simply put, the Bush policies that the libs claim caused most of the huge deficit, i.e. two wars, prescription drug benefits, and tax cuts, amounted to a deficit of $161 billion. While no small potatoes, it’s a hell of a lot less than where our current deficit sits (projected at approximately $13 trillion over ten years). And Reidl brings up an even better point: why single out the Bush policies, when they comprise approx. 1/3 of the total deficit?
Third and most importantly, the White House methodology is arbitrary. With Washington set to tax $33 trillion and spend $46 trillion over the next decade, how does one determine which policies “caused” the $13 trillion deficit? Mr. Obama could have just as easily singled out Social Security ($9.2 trillion over 10 years), antipoverty programs ($7 trillion), other Medicare spending ($5.4 trillion), net interest on the debt ($6.1 trillion), or nondefense discretionary spending ($7.5 trillion).
In addition to identifying the source of the majority of our deficit, the foregoing brings up a different argument for a different day: what constitutes a legitimate government function (military spending vs. entitlements, for example)? Regardless of your answer, it is clear that our current president’s spending dwarfs the spending of Mr. Bush, and is simply unsustainable.
Putting this together, the budget deficit, historically 2.3% of GDP, is projected to leap to 8.3% of GDP by 2020 under current policies. This will result from Washington taxing at 0.2% of GDP above the historical average but spending 6.2% above its historical average.
Entitlements and other obligations are driving the deficits. Specifically, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and net interest costs are projected to rise by 5.4% of GDP between 2008 and 2020. The Bush tax cuts are a convenient scapegoat for past and future budget woes. But it is the dramatic upward arc of federal spending that is the root of the problem.
These points must be remembered come November. Whether it’s deliberate or not, the current administration is spending us into a hole that we won’t be able to simply tax our way out of. These policies can be stopped if republicans re-take at least one house of Congress, thereby reviving the checks and balances that our government relies upon to function.
Bill Press, my second favorite progressive radio talk show host, went a long way to prove why the major newspapers are going under yesterday. While I understand that his piece in the Chicago Tribune was of the “Opinion” variety, shouldn’t someone have to at least make a point based on actual facts for a major newspaper to publish the opinion? Otherwise, the Tribune’s Opinion page becomes just a half-assed blog (unlike this blog of course). Mr. Press begins his piece by offering a story:
Forget what country did it. Consider, first, the facts: armed commandos attack an unarmed ship in international waters, open fire and kill nine civilians, including one American.
O.k. Nice hypothetical. What’s your point?
What do you call that? An act of piracy. It doesn’t matter what country did it. It would have been wrong for Iran to do it. It would have been wrong for North Korea to do it. It was wrong for Israel to do it — and the United States should simply say so.
Oh, i get it. You’re going to base your entire opinion piece on a complete misrepresentation of the facts. First, the “unarmed ship” wasn’t simply floating around in international waters, as you imply. It was running a blockade. Also, the “unarmed ship” at issue wasn’t unarmed. In fact, it was carrying quite a few armed passengers who were known associates of terrorist organizations. Also, the blockade at issue didn’t exist in a vacuum. It was put in place to keep rockets from being brought into Gaza, and being fired at Israel. Now that we have stated the actual facts, lets move on.
There is no justification for Israel’s decision to use military force to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the shores of Gaza, especially after the U.S. had warned Israel to use “caution and restraint.”
Good grief Bill. “Humanitarian aid?” I’m not denying that the flotilla was carrying some humanitarian aid, but if the true goal was to deliver it, Israel would have been allowed to search its contents before an attempt was made at running the blockade. That wasn’t the goal. Instead, the goal was to make some sort of statement that would result in the international community hating Israel more than they previously did. Based upon the already established feelings of the international community, the statement wasn’t necessary.
Mr. Press, your clear agenda is revealed in your hypocritical statement “there is no justification for Israel’s decision to use military force…especially after the U.S. had warned Israel to use ‘caution and restraint.'” Interesting. You, like all liberals, are usually of the opinion that the U.S. throws it weight around too much on the international scene. Israel, though, is apparently a different story.
Press remembers his liberal leanings soon thereafter, though,
Did passengers on board the Mavi Marmara strike first? Yes. But only with knives, iron pipes and slingshots. And only after armed soldiers boarded and attempted to take over their ship. In response, cornered Israeli troops opened fire in what can only be described as a badly botched military exercise resulting in an unnecessary and excessive use of force.
This is a favorite argument of liberals. If your enemy is only using a knife to try and kill you, you have no right to use a gun. Well, tell that to the guy with the knife to his throat. Of course, I’m sure that if the Israeli soldiers had remembered to pack their sling-shots, everything would have been fine. Sorry Bill. When a group of terrorists decides to try and kill Israeli soldiers with a club, they should expect to be shot at…a lot. I would hope you would support the U.S. military doing the same (although I know you don’t).
After running through a couple of Israeli ivory-tower types who are apparently unhappy with the flotilla raid (which only proves that Israel has its share of self-hating elitist liberals just like the U.S.), Press offers the same argument against the blockade that he’s leveled towards the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: It’s only going to make your enemies hate you more.
Originally sold as a means of making Israel more secure, the blockade of Gaza, now in place for three years, has had just the opposite effect. It has not made Israel more secure, but it has strengthened the hand of Hamas, caused great suffering among the population of Gaza, and further alienated the Arab world against any accommodation with Israel.
No, Bill, I don’t think it’s possible for the haters of Israel to hate them any more than they already do. Netanyahu, unlike you, realizes that, and has decided self-preservation is more important than Gazans having all the building materials they need. Being that he is in charge of his people’s safety, that’s the right decision. Press ends with the following nonsense:
The only solution is a two-state solution. And the only way to get there is by resumption of peace talks.
Mr. Press, past history has proven that the more Israel gives up to the Palestinians, the more they get shelled with rockets. If I put my war-monger hat on, I would say the only solution is for Israel to continue to kill their enemies before their enemies kill them (which is the same thing our military should continue doing). There can be no peace when one of the two parties doesn’t want it (and that party isn’t Israel).
I don’t get it, I really don’t. Why the hatred for Israel? Are they all anti-Semites? That can’t be…not the “we love diversity” liberals. One has to wonder though, why liberals keep coming down on the side of the terrorists when it comes to Israel.
This is one of those “why change the status quo?” issues. An international treaty banning landmines was agreed to by most of the world a decade ago. We didn’t jump on board, and rightfully so. Now, the Senate is urging President Obama to sign the treaty, and to his credit he has refused, citing national security. It appears that the Administration is now reconsidering, however:
Two senior U.S. officials speaking on the condition of anonymity indicated that the administration is actively looking for ways to come into compliance with the treaty without endangering security needs.
Why reconsider? We use landmines as weapons of war, and far as I know, they effectively do what they do. While I understand that some countries have them randomly strewn about, sometimes injuring or killing civilians, isn’t that a problem for those countries to deal with? Go clean them up. The reality is, we will be at war again, and landmines may prove useful.
This is the same analysis that the Administration should have conducted before signing the nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. Why change the status quo? How does diluting our military strength, if even by a little, benefit us? The President blew it with the nuclear weapons treaty. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t cow to the “let’s all get together and hold hands” crowd on landmines.