Steadfast FinancesThe Hypocrisy of the Republican Debt Ceiling Debate

The Hypocrisy of the Republican Debt Ceiling Debate

Filed in Infographics & Chartology , Politics 11 comments

US Government Spending: Why the Republican Argument of “Obama is a Keynesian” Doesn’t Hold Water.

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Being an idealist, I’m easily repulsed from any person/organization that I lose respect for. Case in point, the reason why I said goodbye to the Grand Old Party was because they’ve completely gone off the deep end when it comes to social issues (e.g. believing they can tell U.S. citizens what they can or can’t do in the bedroom) and they hammer the current sitting President while totally ignoring the reckless spending that went on just 3 short years ago when their man held the executive branch (e.g. George W. Bush added ~$4.9 Trillion to the national debt, nearly doubling it from $5.7 Trillion upon taking office 2001 to $10.6 Trillion to leaving office in 2009).

Being a fan of well executed rants that point out hypocrites for what they are, I found this Bill Maher interview with Piers Morgan highly apropos.

Highlights from the interview at minute 2:30 marker:

Well, stop talking about — stop talking about the debt and the deficit. You know when Dick Cheney was in office and they were running up all the debt, and by the way you can look this up. There are facts outside of the FOX News bubble, actual facts and numbers.

Most of the debt was run up under Bush. Dick Cheney said, quote, “deficits don’t matter.” Why can’t Obama say that? Why is it OK when Dick Cheney says it but not when President black man says it?

I mean the Republicans have some nerve. Bush came into office. The debt was $5.6 trillion. He took a surplus and turned it into a $10 trillion debt, almost doubled it, with stuff they didn’t pay for.

They didn’t pay for the wars. They didn’t pay for the tax cuts for the rich, which should be called tax spending for the rich, because it is spending. The prescription drug program, all of that unpaid for. And then suddenly Obama comes into office and they act like he’s Newt Gingrich’s wife at Tiffany’s.

Sports psychologists agree that one of the best attributes for success is a bad memory (e.g. the ability to forget your failures).

It would appear the Republican party has adopted the same “bad memory” tactic, because no rational human being could stand at the podium, look into the camera and give us — the American people — such a hard sale speech while simultaneously telling us GOP policies are what “the American people” will accept.

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Update 12/26/2011: Added chart above.

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Posted by CJ   @   17 July 2011 11 comments
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Jul 17, 2011
8:12 pm

The really isn’t the existing debt that’s the issue, the growth of the deficit and for the next 10 years that’s the major issue.

Look at the CBO numbers we are expected to at minimum $1 Billion+ deficits for the next 10 years. That’s NOT sustainable. That’s all Obama, and the Dems my friend. The Democrats are doing what the Repubs were doing ONLY FASTER! If Obama is in for 8 years it is expected he would be at least DOUBLE what Bush did in deficits.

I suspect you’ll soon become a disillusioned Democrat too.

Sorry but Obama is arrogant and couldn’t run a McDonalds. Obama makes Bush look like he was a genius. This is from someone who voted for him.

Jul 17, 2011
9:52 pm
#2 Matt SF :

I’m no Democrat. Thought it was clear by now I think both parties suck and we’re stuck with trying to find a few good apples floating in the cesspool that is inner 495.

But I wouldn’t say he couldn’t run a McDonalds, nor does he make Bush look like a genius. I’d suspect you’ll find as many people who are pro “shaking babies” that say Obama is dumber than Bush II.

(This from someone who voted for W twice, and went to a young Republican meeting in Maryland hoping he might show up.)

However, I would never have thought Obama would become the centrist he’s trying to become in the hopes of appearing to be the great moderator, ergo, piss off both extremes of both parties, thereby going absolutely no where.

Truth is, Obama has 535 whiny people to worry about a few doors down the street, many of whom are paid shills sold the highest bidder to be the biggest pain in his ass as possible.

So not quite a fair example to compare any POTUS’ job to running a McDonalds.

As far as deficits, as well as with quantitative easing, job growth, etc., no one could have taken the reins upon the departure of Bush II and miraculously flipped us around to organic GDP growth.

But what really pisses me off, aside from the aforementioned debt ceiling and deficit hypocrisy, are those who expect things to be “back to happy days” after 3 years. We’ll be lucky if it only takes us a decade to climb our way out of this hole, and the baby boomer age demographics problem won’t help.

Jul 18, 2011
9:45 am
#3 ctreit :

It also puzzles me that the mainstream perception still holds that the GOP is fiscally responsible. I would have thought that the liberal press in the US should have dispelled this misperception by now, unless the commonly held belief that there is a mainstream liberal press is in itself a misperception.

Jul 18, 2011
12:17 pm
#4 Matt SF :

I’d wager the whiny liberal media is too busy complaining about Obama becoming a centrist. He ran on a left of center campaign, but yet, he’s trying to play deal maker than using the full power of the POTUS office.

Jul 18, 2011
11:04 am
#5 Joel M. :

How is it that comedians (bill maher, jon stewart, etc.) can make more sense than actual politicians who’s job it is to jibber jab about this stuff?

Jul 18, 2011
12:22 pm
#6 Matt SF :

The great comedians are often great observers. They observe, interpret, digest, and clarify multiple series of actions, and in the case of politics, the punchline is usually the screwed up series of actions or selling points politicians used to persuade the public. Which of late, usually gets a WTF and/or laugh.

George Carlin was the master, in my opinion. I’d love for him to be around to see this stuff.

Jul 24, 2011
9:57 am
#7 Jeff :

It is important to remember that they are just that…comedians, not political experts. The very people you are pointing to make sense, are not financial analysts, historians, constitutional lawyers, or even journalists. They are performers, comedians.

Are there even any real journalists around anymore?

We need someone to do exactly what was done 30 years ago when faced with the same dilemma of a stagnant economy, runaway inflation, and even worse…lines at the gas pump. We need another Ronald Reagan. He had the right idea about small government and got this nation back on track. He even had a healthy sense of humor and accurate view of how many in this nation run the government…
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
Ronald Reagan

Jul 24, 2011
10:41 am
#8 Matt SF :

So we need an actor to project grand idealism, then do the exact opposite?

Fact is, if Reagan ran for POTUS today, he couldn’t be elected. He was well known for level headed discussions, as well as his ability to compromise, which is anything but today’s GOP.

Watch a recently made Reagan documentary, or better yet, read the works of his former budget director David Stockman.


1) Only President to be part of a union. (actor’s union)
2) Raised taxes (11 times)
3) Increased government spending (he was a few % points above national average)
4) Increased national debt (believe it was $700 Billion to $3 Trillion: 4 fold increase)
5) He expanded government. He did not shrink it.

The list goes on and on. Point is, people who hype Reagan as some sort of fiscal conservative is actually a well contrived act of deception. He is no different than Bush or Obama in terms of government spending, national debt, etc.

His best attribute: he was a likable gentlemanly fellow and he was a better salesman (e.g. a career as an actor definitely helps). Moreover, and this is the really sad part, there is an entire base of people willing to say none of it ever happened when his own economic staffers and historical records say he did.

Jul 24, 2011
2:27 pm

“Watch a recently made Reagan documentary,”

Matt, Matt, Matt. Where you alive during his presidency? As someone you know who lived, during Reagan and Carter’s presidency.

The Reagan documentary from HBO is nothing but an attack from the left right after 1 hour mark. It was pathetic and obvious. I recently watched all of the Reagan documentaries. The PBS documentary while not completely accurate picture either is a much more fair view of Reagan (this is someone who was alive and was a teen) Liberals love to revise history and seem to be doing it with Reagan.

Carter was a complete joke, similar stance to what we have now. It almost makes me want Bush II back. It’s interesting to note with the Carter PBS documentary how nicer they treated him during his era. Basically giving him the pass “it was unfortunate circumstances”, not the admin’s polices. Reagan had a boat load of crap to tend to after the Carter admin left. I’m not saying it was all Carter’s fault either, but like Obama he certainly didn’t help it.

1) Only President to be part of a union. (actor’s union)

In which he realized how bad unions (he was even the head of the actors guild) were are related and quickly became a Republican. During that time he saw direct ties to communism (now it’s more subvert).

In fact his first wife left him because of his change in politics (who was an actor also). Even today how many (admitted) Republicans or Libertarians exist in the movies? Not many as they are pretty much blacklisted if they do.

2) Raised taxes (11 times)

Ah Reagan lowered taxes from what was previous. Keep in mind Congress must approve the tax changes, which was solid Democrat. Remember the promise that was given: for every $1 increase in taxes, $3 in budget decreases? Never happened because of Congress. What happened with Bush I “Read my lips”?

3) Increased government spending (he was a few % points above national average)

Mostly military increases, after previous decimation of our military.

4) Increased national debt (believe it was $700 Billion to $3 Trillion: 4 fold increase)

But GDP also increased during this period. Mind you I’m not saying Reagan’s term our deficits did not decrease.

Reagan had what is similar economic environment to what we have now. So he did increase spending, but also make smart biz friendly policies. Obama and Congress have not (the biz part)

5) He expanded government. He did not shrink it.

He expanded the military primarily.

The only real conservative period was during Clinton’s era and it certainly wasn’t because of him (again congress) and we also had a huge stock bubble. Clinton was much more pragmatic after getting a spanking in 96.

In the end Reagan was a moderate to the right republican, which fits perfectly with how the USA is made up. He was far from perfect, but probably the best President I’ll see in my lifetime.

Reagan was a great negotiator, and was good at compromising. The dealings with the Russians and Congress show this. He is worlds apart from Obama in his lassie fair

Next you’ll state that Reagan’s era directly caused our current mess.

Jul 24, 2011
4:36 pm
#10 Matt SF :

Don’t take that old fart professorial tone w/ me IJ. Yes, I was alive during Reagan’s presidency. I was single digits to teens. But apparently I can also read a history book, and read the works of the people who worked for him.

And as a person who worked under Bush II (as a DOD employee), and as a young Republican who was taught the bogus demi-God nature of Reaganomics, it’s quite infuriating to experience the misinformation firsthand regarding just how much sanctimonious bullsh*t is really out there about Reagan.

I don’t subscribe to HBO, so I have no idea about the hippy liberal garbage you’re talking about. I’m talking data from governmental archives, the accounts of his economic staffers, and if you want the cliff notes version, a recent documentary from The History Channel, so people can actually see just how Reagan’s stats compare to those today. Nothing more.

But for GOP sheeple to say “we need a Reagan economy” today is beyond comical b/c the common denominators of his entire term is making people believe in themselves (e.g. CONfidence, hopium, etc), create a good vs. evil showdown with the Soviets (psyc of teams is incredibly powerful motivation), and hypocritically spew anti-government rhetoric all while empowering government to get bigger (e.g. government debt, military industrial spending, national debt, etc.).

All these things stimulated the economy much like is being attempted under Bush II and Obama. Reagan was just a better salesman and got everyone to buy into b/c he was a likable guy.

I will not say Reagan caused today’s situation (that’s the Clinton, Bush II & Obama legacy), but I will say his game plan of running up national debt under the auspices of free market capitalism, organic growth, etc., created a dangerous model for political success as it’s still in use today.

Much like our earlier debates about the Tea Party diverting from the initial Karl Denniger fiscal conservative movement to the God, Gays & Guns Tea Party now, I fear you’re a bit blinded by your preference of one party coupled with dislike of another.

Jul 24, 2011
5:49 pm

Yes the history channel one was also fair.

Ok let me put it this way.. In the past 40 years who would say was our best President?

Nixon: hell no
Ford: no
Carter: hell no
Bush I: no
Clinton: I can understand why you would say yes
Bush II: no
Obama: hell no!

I think this comment I saw today sums it up perfectly:

Carter’s ineptness + Nixon’s corruption + Clinton’s venality = Obama Administration

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