Fact Check: Obama Lies About Responsibility for Deficit
Yesterday, President Barack Obama told CBS News’ 60 Minutes that “ninety percent” of the reason the federal budget deficit has risen dramatically under his administration is because of his predecessor, George W. Bush. Not only is that a baldfaced lie--Obama borrowed more money in less than four years than Bush did in eight--but it is a lie that many in the media want to believe, as Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek demonstrates.
Sullivan argues, in his latest Newsweek cover story, that Obama could become the new Ronald Reagan--for Democrats--by balancing the budget through “a bipartisan deal on taxes and spending.” This after four years in which Obama failed to halve the deficit as promised; radically expanded spending; constantly pushed for higher taxes; ignored his own debt commission; and failed to achieve a “grand bargain” on the long-term budget.
It is because of such willful self-delusion and fakery by significant portions of the media that Obama believes he can get away with lying about the deficit.
Yet consider the facts.
In Bush’s last fiscal year in office, FY2008, the deficit hit a new record high: $438 billion. The final spending bills for FY2009 were signed by President Obama--not Bush--and included spending that Democrats had failed to push through the Bush White House.
As of right now, the federal budget deficit for FY2012--Obama’s fourth and possibly last year in office--has reached $1.17 trillion, and counting. That is three times higher than Bush’s record-breaking deficit.
So about 37 percent, at most, of the deficit is due to Bush’s spending, tax cuts, etc. Obama’s catch-all excuse for his excess--the financial crisis--is absurd; little of his spending went to “shovel-ready” projects or real stimulus.
The fact is that two-thirds, at least, of the federal budget deficit is due to Obama and the Democrats alone. In addition, the record-breaking deficits signed into law by Bush were passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress.
By contrast, the Republicans have limited the growth of government spending since taking over the House of Representatives in the midterm elections of 2010. Both parties are at fault, but Obama much more so.
The skyrocketing budget deficit and national debt under Obama were the inspiration for the Tea Party in 2009, and remain the best case for Mitt Romney’s challenge to Obama, especially with the addition of budget hawk Paul Ryan to the ticket.
There is almost no chance that Obama would have the will or courage to tackle the deficit in his second term--a deficit he largely created and that he refused to deal with for nearly four years.