Best Fisking of the 'Inherited Deficits' assertion

by CynthiaYockey on November 6, 2009

Almost all my friends and family are liberal and occasionally I ask them about the economy and how they feel about Obama. I do this in the scientific way that a cat pats a mouse. What I really want to know is, “Is the Kool-Aid wearing off? Are you still satisfied that you investigated Obama sufficiently by believing every word he said and attributing every question about his policies, character and veracity to racism? Is everything still all Bush’s fault?”

Well, via Instapundit and Hot Air, I found Keith Hennessey, who takes apart the Obama administration Budget Director Peter Orszag’s latest assertion, in a speech this week at NYU, that Obama-Pelosi-Reid bear no responsibility for the weak economy due to the deficits that Obama inherited from Pres. Bush.

Hennessey’s post is even-handed and useful for its succinct dismantling of the Obama administration’s excuse that it is powerless over the economy due to the deficits inherited from Pres. Bush — here’s the punchline:

The most disappointing aspect of Director Orszag’s speech is not the details of his substantive argument. It’s that he would use a valuable and limited resource, his ability to command attention and shape the policy agenda, to assign blame rather than propose solutions. We need the current Administration to spend less time worrying about whether future problems are their fault, and more time trying to solve those problems.

You inherited debt/GDP of 50.5%. Under your policies that will increase to 82%. Please stop worrying about whose fault that is and do something about it. Propose a solution.

Frankly, I believe Obama is driving the economy into the ground on purpose to destroy capitalism, so he’s not really looking for a solution, at least not the kind that Hennessey is thinking of, but that’s just me.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air adds some pertinent details, which I have boldfaced:

Read all of Hennessey’s excellent Fisking of Orszag, but bear in mind something Hennessey doesn’t state: these deficits come from Democrats. Democrats have controlled Congress and therefore the purse since January 2007. The last budget that the Bush administration signed went into effect in October of that year. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid played keep-away with the FY2009 budget, passing continuing resolutions until Bush left office and then an omnibus spending bill when Obama became President. The $1.4 trillion deficit in 2009 is owed entirely to the Beltway triumvirate of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, and has nothing at all to do with George Bush.

Update, 11/9/2009, Mon.: Welcome, readers of Legal Insurrection, and thank you, Prof. Jacobson, for making this “Post of the Day” along with your summary: “Or, in plain English, Bush isn’t to blame, you idiots!” Who knew that one of the principle — and first — positive achievements of Obama’s administration would be to rehabilitate the reputation of George W. Bush and restore to him the respect and love of a rapidly-increasing number of Americans who are seeing him in a new and flattering light? It’s too bad that light is coming from the flames of their liberty and America’s status as the world’s superpower and beacon of capitalism.

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Stinky November 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm

“Frankly, I believe Obama is driving the economy into the ground on purpose to destroy capitalism, so he’s not really looking for a solution, at least not the kind that Hennessey is thinking of, but that’s just me.:

And me.

And Rush Limbaugh.

Gee, what a motley crew of “right-wing” extremists, wouldn’t you say? 😉

sybilll November 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Cynthia, I’d be curious what you have been able to ferret out of your liberal friends. I, too, use the same tactic, and my rational liberal friends are no longer enchanted. I do have irrational liberal friends that I am sure want their future grandbabies be named Sasha or Malia, to honor Obama, but, oddly enough, I engage with them infrequently. How Obama is still maintaining a 50% approval is mind-boggling,

Peter November 6, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Obama didn’t inherit anything. He lusted for the job. He and his minions cheated during the Primaries, then he lied about his agenda, repeatedly. All to get this job which he seems afraid to do. All he knows is campaigning, not governing. Which, given his agenda, may be a good thing.

Stinky November 7, 2009 at 9:43 am

Peter makes a good point when he says Obama didn’t inherit anything. Every time he or his administration make that argument, unchallenged, it brings into sharp relief how much in the tank the media is for him and the democrats as a group.

If I recall correctly, Obama WAS a US Senator. He followed McCain to Washington, after painting him as erratic and unstable, to argue for the TARP bailout, and was credited for its passing by the media. As a Senator, Obama voted for one irresponsible spending bill after another.

He didn’t inherit anything. He helped create the mess we are in.

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