Tuesday, July 29, 2008

US Deficit Zooming To Half-trillion As Bush Leaves

What if you gave me $236 only to find out later that I now owed several people in excess of $482? So, not only did I blow through the money you gave me, but then I turned around and spent another $482 that I didn't have.

Well, that's exactly what the George W. Bush administration has done since taking office, except we aren't talking dollars, but rather BILLIONS of them.

That's right, President Bush will leave office with the United States facing a record deficit of nearly $500 billion. How's that for a welcome gift for Barack Obama or John McCain?

As bad as that number is, I fear it will only get worse if the Republicans run the White House for the next four years. Senator McCain has publicly admitted several times that the economy is not his strong suit, thus one could conclude that he will be more likely to be swayed by Republican economic strategists, and that would mean more of the same from the White House.

What? You're saying just because President Bush subscribed to a certain economic plan that it doesn't mean Senator McCain would do the same thing if he became president? Really?

Well, I've always believed the reason we study history is to prevent us from repeating mistakes from the past, but evidently the Republicans do not believe in such a philosophy.

Check out this excerpt from an article written by Robert Freeman on CommonDreams.org in October of 2004:

When Reagan took office in 1981, the national debt stood at $995 billion. Twelve years later, by the end of George H.W. Bush’s presidency, it had exploded to $4 trillion. Reagan was a “B” grade movie actor and a doddering, probably clinically senile president, but he was a sheer genius at rewarding his friends by saddling other people with debts.

Bill Clinton reversed Reagan’s course, raising taxes on the wealthy, and lowering them for the working and middle classes. This produced the longest sustained economic expansion in American history. Importantly, it also produced budgetary surpluses allowing the government to begin paying down the crippling debt begun under Reagan. In 2000, Clinton’s last year, the surplus amounted to $236 billion. The forecast ten year surplus stood at $5.6 trillion. It was the last black ink America would see for decades, perhaps forever.

George W. Bush immediately reversed Clinton’s policy in order to revive Reagan’s, once again showering an embarrassment of riches on the already most embarrassingly rich, his “base” as he calls them. He ladled out some $630 billion in tax cuts to the top 1% of income earners. In true Republican fashion, they returned the favor by investing over $200 million to ensure Bush’s re-election. Do the math. A $630 billion return on a $200 million investment: $3,160 for $1. I’ll give you $3,160. All I ask is that you give me $1 back so I can keep the goodness flowing. Do we have a deal? Republicans know return on investment.

But the cost to the public has been a return to the exploding deficits of the Reagan years. Bush blew through Clinton’s surplus in his first year. The 2004 deficit reached $415 billion, a record.

And it's only gotten worse sense.

Look, I am not saying I am some sort of economic genius. Heck, I didn't even take one money-related class in college. However, I do have sense enough to know when something isn't working that I should try something else. And the republican economic strategies simply do not work for the entire population.

Giving the wealthiest people tax breaks with hopes of them investing that money on Wall Street is not a proven means of boosting the economy. It never has been. What really moves the stock market is when companies show positive gains in their annual projections, and that money does not come from investments, but rather people and companies actually buying their goods and services. And we all know that goods and services are mostly purchased by working and middle-class families.

If Ronald Reagan taught us anything, it was that the economy does not trickle down, but rather up!


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