This is one of many reasons why President Bush is in trouble. On fiscal policy, he has not simply lost all credibility. With claims like these, he is right on his way to becoming the butt of jokes. And laughter and derision are in many ways the deadliest bogies in politics.
When the president came into office the budget surplus was over $200 billion. Now the deficit is over $500 billion.
Even my frail grasp of mathematics tells me that’s a deterioration in the nation’s fiscal health of roughly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in the three years he’s been in office. And for almost all of that time the president’s party controlled both houses of congress.
First, let me state that I am not, nor do I intend to become, a Busy apologist. Like any other politician, his motivation is Power, and he’s doing what he thinks is necessary to retain and grow his and his party’s Power. Kerry, Edwards, Dean… will all do the same (though they may be able to do so with more grace than Bush has shown).
Second, let me remind you that the surplus you speak of came through the complete lack of business ethics that were allowed under the Clinton administration. This led to a significant governmental surplus… and an incredible decrease in many American’s 401K plans. We’re still cleaning up the Enrons, Worldcoms, Trust Funds, etc.
Third, GDP = C + I + G + XP, where:
C = consumer spending; Bush gave consumer’s a tax cut so that they’d have money to spend. That, coupled with the multiplier effect, helps all of us
I = business investment, which Bush has stimulated by “encouraging” the Fed to hold the line on interest rates
G = government spending, which Bush has stimulated through foreign policy (i.e., Iraq war)
XP = net difference in foreign imports/exports, which Bush has stimulated by allowing the dollar to be devalued, making U.S. goods cheaper internationally (and making the U.S. a more desirable tourist destination, etc)
Yes, the deficit is big, and that’s not a good thing. The alternative, however, may well have been a much harder landing, stagflation/disinflation (ala Japan), etc.
The U.S. learned a hard lesson during the Great Depression; our economy will not automatically right itself. Sometimes stimulus is necessary.
If you have a better economic plan, present it (and run for President).