Even though both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have increased the national debt by roughly the same amount, that being nearly $5 trillion, to compare the dollar increase to each other is a little like comparing apples to oranges. Granted, President Bush accumulated his debt in eight years in office while Obama has amassed his in half the time, thus giving the Columbus Dispatch newspaper its March 23rd editorial headline of “New speed record” along with the subtitle “President Obama drives up debt twice as fast as his predecessor.” However, further analysis and understanding is needed to comprehend the vast difference in the two presidents’ record level of debt.
When President Bush assumed office, the economy was roaring and President Bill Clinton had left him a record budget surplus. Two massive tax cuts, mainly benefiting the wealthy elite along with two unfunded wars, resulted in President Obama entering office facing record deficits. In addition to the unfunded tax cuts and unwarranted wars, Obama faced an economic crisis many financial experts equated to possibly rival that of the Great Depression that came about as the result of the collapse of both the housing bubble and the Detroit automotive industry and the financial markets in near ruin due to de-regulation. To further understand how obtuse the financial record of President Bush was, all one must understand is that this was a president who made it a law that the U.S. Department of Human Services cannot bargain with Big Pharma over the cost of the meds it purchases from them. It should be a law that the Department of Human Services has to bargain with Big Pharma over the price of the meds it buys, not illegal to do so. This one law alone is all you need to know to understand the political difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties.
When in the midst of a recession and the private sector, both commercial and individual isn’t spending; it is up to the government to spend its way out of it. One lesson learned from the Great Depression was that after nearly doing just that, the government led by President Franklin Roosevelt decided to balance the budget by curbing spending and the result was the recession of 1937. Other than bailing out Wall Street and Detroit and properly funding both wars, what has President Obama spent his budget deficits on, other than his health care plan? Every time Mr. Obama tries to pass legislation to stimulate the economy, the Republican Party automatically votes against it.
Steven H. Spring