The President on Deficits

The President used his weekly address to deal with federal government deficits, and some steps he now advocates to help deal with this burgeoning problem. The President highlighted a spending freeze, as well as calling for a bipartisan “deficit commission”. The “deficit” issue has hurt him politically, and he is now going to turn some “political” attention to it. Before the hail of criticism comes down lets say candidly that the President will not make any real dent in the problem with these changes. But a candid assessment would also acknowledge that the Republicans have dismissed the deficit as an issue going back to Reagan’s tenure. Tax cuts have always been the holy grail for Republicans, even at the expense of fiscal reality. Democratic opposition to deficit reduction is there and also is fairly subject to charges of fiscal irresponsibility. The refusal of both Parties to support a “deficit commission” with real bite shows that neither is truly serious about the issue. Both sides are making a big mistake. And in my view the public positioning by Scott Brown, that he is truly independent, is on its face truly attractive to the electorate. The public is sick of this type of nonsense and hypocrisy by both sides. Is our system designed to only produce results when catastrophe sets in? It sure looks like that today.

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7 Responses to The President on Deficits

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Congratulations, Your Honor, you have pulled off a journalistic marvel by taking both sides of all your talking points.

    However, you seem to come down on the side of “a pox on both your houses”. We have reached a political gridlock even with one side at a “Super Majority”.

    I have some points based on your article.

    1. The president advocating to deal with the burgeoning problem is like John Dillinger advocating a reduction in bank robberies. Now I know the President has inherited a deficit aggravated by a bank ‘meltdown’ that has required massive bailouts (I do not agree that the bailouts were required). The President decided to pursue a massive ‘stimulus package’ followed by an enormous focus on Cap and Trade and Healthcare while deficits soared. The deficits, therefore, are now hs problem.

    2. As I have mentioned before, bi-partisan commissions are a symptom of political weakness. If The President and our representative can’t do their jobs, then we are lost as a constitutional republic.

    3. His freeze proposal is bogus.

    4. To relieve the jobs issue, tax cuts for all, business and workers is the best solution. Using your Reagan example, we have had the longest period of sustained low unemployment between Reagan and GW. There have been ‘glitches’ but they have been short. So I declare you are wrong.

    5. I notice you declare Republicans or Republicans and Democrats can be at fault, but Democrats only are never at fault. I think you will find greed and hypocrisy are the hallmark of the Demcrat governance in the Obama Presidency;

    6. A disaster is coming down the line and President Obama will not get off his Healthcare/Cap and Trade band wagon.

    7. Two landmark events to judge Obama’s job approval; Amber Lee Ettinger, the Obama girl, has thrown him under the buss, and worst of all, Super Blue Massachusetts has given The Lion of Senate, Ted Kennedy himself, the Senate seat to an unknown Republican (your town went for Brown 65/34 percent). Would you have even conceived of the possibility?

    Jules

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  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    Lets be clear about what I said. On deficit reduction there is some blame on both parties, in particular as we focus on the rejection of the Bipartisan Commission on Deficits. I choose not be be hyper-partisan, and will not accept nonsense just because it is put out by Democrats. I wish you could do the same. Lets look at FACTS, and leave aside partisan nonsense.

    1) Bill Clinton left a budget surplus, reversing enormous budget deficits left behing by the Reagan-Bush years. In the Reagan years Republicans said quite loudly that deficits did not matter. (Is point one true or false?)

    2) President Bush (43) enacted large, top driven tax cuts that blew a huge hole in the budget. (True or false)

    3)President Bush also enacted a drug benefit for seniors that was totally unpaid for, and was passed by Republican majorities.It added billions to the deficit. (True or False)

    4) President Bush 43 left behind huge deficits when he had inherited surpluses.(True or False)

    5) Dick Cheney said “deficits don’t matter”. (True or False)

    6)Richard Nixon said “we are all Keynesians now”, and such a philosophy would have the government run deficits in times of economic contraction, which we are in now. (True or False)

    Now Jules the Commission idea indeed is reflective of the Congress’ inability to deal with this issue. The Base Commission is further proof of this dysfunction. I believe that the real answers lie in paying for what you spend. Republicans absolutely do not believe that. And before you start denying that lets look at this years Republican budget proposal. I did a post on it a while back, and the Republican proposal called for huge deficits. They are less than proposed by the President, but they are nowhere near balance. What gives? I believe that Republican proposal had a five year freeze on discretionary spending. Is that proposal bogus? The Republicans are rank hypocrites on deficit reduction, and they know it. When the Democrats act like hypocrites on the deficit I will call them on it, and that is the point of the post. But it is hard to catch up with Republicans on deficit hypocrisy.

    That post is here.

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  3. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    I am working on a cogent answer.

    Be back at you.

    Jules

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  4. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Let us get a couple of things clear.
    1. As I remember from my college economics classes, the Keynesian principles used deficits as a means to control recessions along with the interest rate as established by the Fed. It is necessary to manipulate these figures to keep the economy stable. I could never understood how the control is established within a parliamentary or legislative system made up of hundreds of politicians.

    2. I am partisan. I consider this President as a tyrant and the most dangerous man in America. I would not worry as much except he has a political legislature devoted to his policies. I want his policies to fail enactment.

    Now, I will agree that neither political party puts in much effort to control the deficits.

    You seem fixated with deficits. Bill Clinton did leave a budget surplus established with the cooperation of the Republican Congress after having his clock cleaned in the mid term elections.

    President Reagan enacted tax cuts in the face of a Democrat majority for the previous 40 years. You do remember the Carter double digit inflation (11.4%) don’t you? Jimmy Carter then brought in Paul Volcker to the Fed. He instituted a stiff recession to cool the economy. Eventually, Reagan made tax cuts to counter the job loss and soon there was a 25 years of growth and prosperity. This allowed Clinton to grow the economy with low inflation and end the deficit. The Internet bubble began to burst at the end of the Clinton Administration and became a problem for George Bush. Without getting into details, the Bush Presidency enjoyed 4+% unemployment and low inflation until the banking ‘melt down’. And, yes, larger deficit was the result of the war on terror and his health initiative.

    The use of deficits by Reagen helped slow the recession, but I did not hear of any Republican saying “deficits don’t matter’. Please leave me the name of the author.

    Your point about the drug benefit is well taken. The problem is the unfunded cost of Medicare and social security over 100 trillion in the red (a bipartisan issue). What do you say about that?

    I never heard that Dick Cheney said anything about deficits. He may have said it. So what, deficits are a legislative responsibility. When are you going to get off the Bush/Cheney syndrome? Remember Carter left Reagan with a serious inflation problem. Reagan did not whine, he just fixed it.

    Nixon??? Why. I already answered the Keynesian issue above.

    Refering to your last paragraph about paying for for what you spend. How about applying that to Obama and his 1.5+ trillion dollar deficit?

    Let’s see how Obama freeze works out (it won’t).

    Finally, please remove your blinders and call out your hypocritical Democratic friends on the deficit of 1.5 trillion dollars by the Democrats only.

    In summary, the political class in this country are not meeting their responsibilities. Federal and State.

    Jules

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  5. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Maybe you ought to watch Judd Gregg arguing to return TARP repayments to the taxpayer. The Democrats want to use for their favorite things.

    So much for you point of view.

    Jules

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  6. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    TARP was passed at the urging of President Bush. As far as being fixated on deficits I believe that both parties are mired in hypocrisy on the issue, but the Republicans especially so. And in terms of deficits being a “legislative” matter that is pure hokem. A president files a budget which should reflect his priorities. That budget has numbers, and a deficit. Reagan never even filed a balanced budget. Neither did Bush 43. President Bush 43, in his first term, never issued one veto against any bill, including appropraitions bills.

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  7. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Your are right about deficit budgets. Don’t forget though, the legislators were not always members of the President’s party.

    It was a Republican Congress that passed a balanced budget with Clinton.

    You are correct about both parties being hypocritical. Explain your saddling the Republican’s excessive hypocrisy.

    I noticed in your blogging since Obama was elected, you rarely mention Obama and his programs while wallowing in old history. I believe you are embarrassed by his presidency and the truly enormous deficits and his spending with obsessive drive to enact over the top expensive programs.

    Jules

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