Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Economic Meltdown’s True Villain

With the S & P downgrade of U.S. debt securities the GOP will be going into hyper-drive to tie the fault on Obama and the Democrats. As the chart at left from the Boston Globe demonstrates (click the image to enlarge it), the real villain behind the nation's debt problem is Chimperator George W. Bush and the then GOP controlled Congress that rubber stamped every spending binge item the hapless Bush and Emperor Palpatine Cheney requested. Will the Democrats who seem clueless on messaging and getting the truth out be able to get the public to fully understand where fault lies? I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, The Daily Beast has a column that does a great job delving into how Bush/Cheney got the nation into its current economic free fall. Here are highlights:

As we thunder toward a double-dip recession on a possible worldwide scale, let’s step back and remember how all this happened. . . . . . Obama is not the villain in this story. Every time I step back and ponder this sordid history, I am amazed that the Republican Party has any credibility and even 100 members of Congress, let alone a sizable House majority and enough juice to be driving the nation’s agenda as it is.

George W. Bush ran up $6.4 trillion. That’s nearly half—44.7 percent—of the $14.3 trillion total. We all know what did it —two massive tax cuts geared toward the rich (along with other similar measures, like slashing the capital gains and inheritance taxes), the off-the-books wars, the unfunded Medicare expansion, and so on. But the number is staggering and worth dwelling on. In a history covering 30 years, nearly half the debt was run up in eight. Even the allegedly socialist Obama at his most allegedly wanton doesn’t compare to Dubya; and Obama’s debt numbers, if he’s reelected, will surely not double or even come close as we gambol down Austerity Lane.

In percentage terms, the case is even more open and shut. . . . The percentages in question here are debt as a chunk of the GDP. It was more than 100 percent after World War II ended, for defensible and obvious reasons having to do with financing the war effort (the government buying all those tanks and planes from GM, and everything else). But after it went back down, it had tended to hover in the 40 to 50 percent range during good times. Well, Reagan raised it 20 points, to 53 percent from 33 percent. Bush Sr. a gaudy 13 points more. Clinton lowered it by 10 points, back down to 56 percent. Bush Jr.? Up 28 points, to 82 percent of GDP. Obama has raised it nine points. Once again: In a 30-year increase from 32 percent to 93 percent of 61 points, nearly half, 28 points or 46 percent, happened under Bush.

Were there protest marches, mass donnings of tricorn hats, nullification threats from states regarding federal legislation [during the Bush years]? Of course not. In real time, there was a little polite caviling, but in the end they [the GOP] voted for all this debt.

It is truly an incredible record when you stack it up. First, the party fought tooth and nail against every single move Clinton made that ended up putting us in surplus. Then it got power—and let’s not get into how that happened—and ran up completely unprecedented debts and deficits. Then it put the foxes in command of the henhouses at the SEC and OTC and brought the world to the very brink of total economic collapse.

A football coach with a similar record would be selling cars. A movie director with one would be lucky to be making instructional videos. A bank president would likely be in jail. But here we are. It just goes to show what you can accomplish when the richest 1 percent of the country pays you (and pays you, and pays you) to lie, and to believe fairy tales. But it’s hard luck for the rest of us.

Again, will Americans be educated by Obama and the Democrats to know the truth? They need to be, but the hapless Democrats seem to know nothing about how to play hardball politics and beat down dishonest GOP talking points. It doesn't bode well for the country.

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