This is the progressive blog of Jim Swanson, author of "The Bush League of Nations." His focus is to set the record straight regarding the crimes and misdeeds of President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Republican Party (GOP), and to help provide a way forward for America.
"Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"—Gimli, Lord of the Rings
Thursday, July 31, 2008
The GOP’s Bankruptcy of America—Part I
According to financial estimates just released (July 28, 2008) by the Bush administration, next year’s budget deficit will be the worst ever, $482 billion for fiscal year 2009.
Incredibly, the actual deficit will almost certainly be much worse for at least two reasons: (1) The estimate does not include tens of billions in “off-budget” war funding for Iraq and Afghanistan, and (2) the estimate is based on rosy assumptions, including an estimate of economic growth that is higher than the average of estimates from business economists.
Bush’s Olympic performance was noted by fiscal hawk Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND): “If we gave Olympic medals for fiscal irresponsibility, President Bush would take the gold, the silver and the bronze, because he’s got the three highest record deficits ever. … 2009 would be the gold; 2004 the silver; 2008 the bronze.”
In a later blog we’ll acknowledge the Olympic performance of Ronald Reagan, who in the 1980s made fiscal irresponsibility a key plank of the Republican Party—the Cons—and put America on the road to bankruptcy and financial Armageddon.
In this current blog, we’ll review just the last 15 years:
1993-2000: BILL CLINTON (Democrat)—8 Years
- Finally, after 12 years in the Land of the Cons, America had a president who told the fiscal truth, and walked it. Yes, a Democrat. Of course.
- Turned the largest deficit in history into the largest surplus in history.
- Greatly decreased the deficit (or increased the surplus he created) every year he was in office ... 8 years of improvement in a row.
- GRADE: A+
2001-08: GEORGE W. BUSH (Republican)—7 Years and Counting
- In just three years, turned the largest federal surplus in history (Clinton’s surplus) into the largest deficit in history.
- His first seven years were the seven worst years in history in the worsening of the federal budget.
- Joined his father and Reagan in the Holy Triumvirate of Voodoo Economics.
- Achieved record federal spending each year while never vetoing a single spending bill during his first six years.
- Inflicted great pain on the middle- and lower-income workers of America.
- Gave humongous tax breaks to the Super Rich.
- Presided over the largest expansion of government pork and corruption in history.
- Protected America’s fiscal position the same way he protected America on 9/11.
- GRADE: F
- GRADE DESERVED: W
In summary, the only period of financial responsibility since 1981 was when a Democrat was in charge.
Bill Clinton’s eight years of Grade A financial responsibility—a noble patriotic effort—stemmed temporarily the catastrophic tidal wave of 19 years of GOP Grade F mismanagement and looting (under Reagan, Bush the Father, and Bush the Son).
Giving credit where credit is due, here are some additional facts about Clinton’s Grade A management:
- Over eight years, with financial improvement each and every year, Clinton turned an annual budget deficit of $290 billion into an annual budget surplus of $127 billion, the largest ever.
- The turnaround to financial responsibility did not occur without straight talk and unpopular painful medicine. In his 1993 budget Clinton increased taxes and slashed expenses. He knew this medicine was necessary to reverse years of financial irresponsibility under the Republican Party.
- Every Republican member of Congress opposed Clinton’s 1993 budget and the 1993 Debt Reduction Act. They claimed that Clinton’s tough medicine would cause greater deficits and a recession, but they were wrong—again.
- Clinton’s financial stewardship had numerous other benefits, including: a big reduction in interest rates; the largest budget surplus ever; huge growth in excellent jobs; tremendous strength in the stock markets; strength and respect in the world; an America that believed in itself again; and an America that believed in helping its unborn, wanting to leave them—countless future generations of children—a valuable financial legacy, not an immoral IOU in the form of a cold GOP Banana.
After Clinton left office, Bush and the GOP Congress ransacked America like thieves and drunken sailors. They eliminated checks and balances while they wrote unlimited checks and IOUs. The GOP Congress abdicated its constitutional duties by refusing to oversee and investigate financial malfeasance in the executive branch, and it changed and gutted congressional ethics rules to protect its own GOP “crooks and creeps” in Congress.
Until the 1980s both parties believed in fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. They understood the unfairness of stealing from grandchildren and the unborn to fund current financial addictions. They knew America needed to be fiscally strong in order to be morally and militarily strong.
But then the deficits-don’t-matter neo-GOP rode into town. The party of “conservatives” became the party of “cons. “GOP” soon stood for “Gang of Plunderers.”
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