The Lessons Of The George W. Bush Administration - And Response

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From all the political rhetoric being issued by both political parties it seems as if the question for every prospective voter comes down to "whether or not you believe government is the answer" to solving the problems brought on by the economic condition of this great nation. The Romney/Ryan campaign claims that the U.S. government is the problem, and not the solution. 

They claim that the U.S. budget is "out of control" spending, and that 47% of the people in this country are not footing their "fair share" for the bill of operating this great nation. They argue that we must get our fiscal house in order, and reduce spending for all this welfare and food stamps. Without addressing their claims, let us look at the lessons that we learned during the Bush Administration.

During the Bush Administration, the national debt went from roughly $5 trillion in 2000, to $14 trillion in 2008. That means the GDP more than doubled under the Bush Administration. During that same time, Bush grew government spending by 8%. Total US government spending in 2000 was $1.5 trillion. Total US government spending in 2008 was $2.9 trillion. Government spending doubled under the Bush Administration. The US Gross Domestic Product was growing at 5% in 2000. The GDP was growing at 2% in 2008, but in the eight years of the Bush presidency, the GDP went from roughly $5 trillion, to $14 trillion. When the GDP grows at such unheard of rates, a lot of new millionaires are created. How did this happen? The only problem with this picture is that when the Republicans had an opportunity to cut government spending during a time of economic prosperity, they chose to spend a lot of money. 

Government spending doubled under the Bush Administration. This growth in government spending kept U.S. unemployment rates artificially low, so on the surface things looked good. However, during those years, instead of increasing the debt, since the economy was growing, the government should have "saved" money. This approach of saving money in a booming economy is a part of Keynesian and Austrian economic policy. If Bush been a fiscal conservative and had kept the debt at $5 trillion the debt now could possibly have been $5 trillion less than the present $16 trillion...making it $11 trillion now. The Republicans had control of Congress the majority of the Bush Administration. This act of fiscal responsibility was well within their ability. Another caveat? U.S. food stamp usage increase 63 percent under the Bush watch...and that was in an economy that doubled the GDP under his watch. Paul Ryan reminds me of someone who had what we called growing up: jailhouse religion.

Government spending has grown at 1.4 percent under the Obama administration. This nominal growth in U.S. governmental spending is called "out of control" by the Romney/Ryan ticket. Never mind that Paul Ryan supported all of the bank bailouts, but didn't support the auto bailout. In the 90's, his voting record suggests that he heavily supported the Republican Party mentality that "deficits mean nothing." Deficits may mean nothing to Paul Ryan or MItt Romney, but repeated deficits "grow" the national debt. Paul Ryan voted for numerous "bailouts" during his time in the Congress under the Bush Administration that increased the national debt. These bailouts only helped the big guys by allowing them to not be responsible for bad business practices. Isn't this the very same thing Romney/Ryan accuse the single mother on welfare as being: irresponsible? In fact, the approach of Paul Ryan in labeling the current Administration as out of control "spend thrifts" more adequately suits him, Paul Ryan. His actions have been exactly like a "drunken sailor" spending money out of control; more so than it depicts the current Administration! Too, the figures quoted here should give people a long pause when considering what is needed to "grow" the economy, and get the US out of this current lack of economic growth. What is needed, according to the leading economic indicators of the Bush Administration: is government spending.  

The Republican may think they can fool a lot of people by claiming to be fiscal conservatives when the facts prove others, but I don't think the American people are that easily fooled. Expecting a man like Paul Ryan or MItt Romney to get spending under control, is like expecting a fox to honestly guard the chicken house.

Stephen Durham

* * * 

Mr. Stephen Durham,
You stated, “During the Bush Administration, the national debt went from roughly $5 trillion in 2000, to $14 trillion in 2008.”  That’s nonsense. 

On the day George W. Bush took office, Jan. 20, 2001, the national debt was $5.7 trillion; the day he left office, Jan. 20, 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion.  President George W Bush added $4.9 trillion over eight years, an annualized rate of $600 billion.  President Barack Hussein Obama - was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009 at $10.6 trillion, and has proceeded to add $5.4 trillion to the national debt where it stands today at $16.01 trillion.  That’s an annualized spending (debt) rate of $1.44 trillion with President Barack Hussein Obama in 3.75 years, a rate more than twice his predecessor. 

Information on the national debt can be easily found at 

You can keep blaming George W Bush, but President Obama’s fiscal policies have been a disaster.  He’s taken a bad situation and made it worse:  U6 unemployment is 15 percent; 47 million Americans on food stamps; 1/3 young adults 24 -35-years-old live with their parents; gasoline prices have doubled.  With recent attacks on U.S. Embassies, his foreign policy hasn’t fared much better. 

You want four more years of this? C’mon man. 

Matt Marsden
Signal Mountain

* * * 

Attempting to imply that President Obama is the problem with our debt is comical.  It is one thing to be saturated with lies, half truths, and innuendo, through Republican political ads, and quite another when some party wonk attempts to pass that tripe off on a local level.  I always wonder, if your politician has to lie to the electorate, why would the electorate assume that politician would serve their best interest? 

You stated that gasoline prices have doubled under President Obama, but you mislead the reader by not pointing out that gasoline prices rose to $4.12 a gallon (national average) under Bush Junior.  In fact, in places like California, Illinois, and New York, it was well over $5 a gallon.  So why was it so cheap when Obama assumed office?  The economy completely collapsed, and gas prices fell like a rock in the sell off.  Either way, gasoline has never reached the heights of the Bush Administration under Obama.  

After the debacle that was the Bush foreign affairs policy, you dare to critique Obama?  The United States has never had such a low image in the world as when Bush Junior was President.  Now, the Republican's have nominated someone to run and he has already almost started a war with the British over the Olympics, told Israel that they didn't have to worry about Iran because he would eliminate that problem for them, implied that Russia is our mortal enemy, has already picked a dispute with China, and was greeted in Poland with the cheer, "Obama, Obama, Obama."  

Yes, you are absolutely right that when Obama took office in January of 2009, the debt stood at $10.6 trillion.  You neglected to include that Bush Junior had forgotten to include the costs of his two wars in that budget, but more on that later.  The budgets in Washington, run from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 each year.  Bush's budget ran through the first nine months of Obama's first year.  At the end of that period, our debt stood at $12 trillion.  It would have been $13 trillion, but Obama canceled the purchase of $800 billion worth of helicopters that Bush had ordered for the White House fleet.  President Obama included the costs of the wars on the books in his budget submission, and the "Reicht" side of the aisle had a fit, claiming Obama was spending us into oblivion. 

Either way one wants to spin the tale, when looking at the facts, Obama has spent less to GDP than any President since Eisenhower.  Compare that to the outrageous growth of our debt under Reagan, who to date increased our debt more than any President, followed closely by, you guessed it, Junior Bush.  Yet, the GOP (greed over people) assails Obama because of our debt.  When will the Democrats stop blaming Bush for the mess Bush Junior left?  When it stops affecting every man woman and child in this country.  So, expect to hear about it for quite a while. 

In closing, I want to address your comment about unemployment.  Right now the unemployment rate stands at 8.1 percent, which is still much higher than it should be.  For over 12 months, the House has refused to bring Obama's jobs bill to the floor.  This is the same Congress that said "elect us and jobs will be our first priority."  Just a few days ago, our own Senators Corker and Alexander, joined with 38 other Republican Senators to kill the "Jobs For Vets" bill.  The Republican Reicht has played politics, attempting to keep as many people as possible out of work to make Obama look bad in November.  I call that treason, but that is for another day. 

Prior to taking office, the filibuster had been used 34 times in our history.  Since Obama took office, the Republican's have filibustered over 240 times.  You want to see people go to work, tell the obstructionists Republican's that are playing political games with our security. 

Rod Dagnan
Soddy Daisy

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