"By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade," Obama said in his State of the Union speech.
"The Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined," David Axelrod, a senior strategist for Obama, wrote in The Washington Post.
The theme is clear. According to the Obama Administration deficits as far as the eye can see are the fault of one man: George W. Bush. They relentlessly push this message from the Obama White House. Let's do a little fact checking.
First it is important to understand that an administration only suggests a budget. Under our form of government, Congress is actually in charge of appropriating money. Hence, you have a mad scramble every two years, when committee assignments are passed out with Members of Congress elbowing each other to get a seat on the aptly named "Committee on Appropriations".
So when Obama uses speeches to whine about the "fiscal disaster" he inherited from Bush, he should actually be complaining about the Democratic Congress run by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that appropriated and adopted the budget during the later years of the Bush term.
As the party that controlled Congress since January 2007, it is the Democrats that have held all the cards in the budget debate. They essentially wrote the budgets for FY 2008, FY 2009, as well as FY 2010 and FY 2011. Oh, and if we need to remind him, Barack Obama served in these Democratic majorities, so he cannot feign ignorance of the process.
George W. Bush's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during those years were constantly in conflict with the appropriators over spending too much money.
In FY 2009, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid actually bypassed Bush entirely, passing only continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. Then once Obama was safely in office they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the FY 2009 budgets.
So what did the deficits look like during the time period Congress was controlled by the Democrats? In the FY 2007 budget, the last of the budgets written by Republicans the deficit was the lowest in the last five years, and it was the fourth straight decline in deficit spending.
Once Democrats in Congress took control, the budgets and deficits exploded.
The budget just unveiled by Obama's team is so large and so out of control, he should be embarrassed to compare it to any of the Bush budgets.
In a nutshell, the deficit will surge to a record-breaking $1.56 trillion. This tops the last shocking $1.41 trillion in red ink. And as Karl Rove pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, when measured against economic output, Obama looks even worse. "Mr. Bush's deficits ran an average of 3.2 percent of GDP, slightly above the post-World War Two average of 2.7 percent. Mr. Obama's plan calls for deficits that will average 4.2 percent over the next decade," Rove wrote.
The deficit will remain above $1 trillion, even in 2011 when Obama’s so-called "budget freeze" begins. This is because in an Obama freeze spending in a multitude of programs actually goes up.
So the next time you hear the Whiner-in-Chief complain about his predecessor, remember the Congress that appropriated the funds was a Congress in which he served in the majority.
So who inherited what?