Monday, February 14, 2011


A study of spending under President Obama:

The math isn’t particularly complicated. So far, the Obama administration has pushed for six major, immediate spending increases that aren’t offset elsewhere in the budget: the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (aka “the stimulus package”), which had a 2009-10 price tag of $340 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office; the GM/Chrysler bailout and other portions of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which have largely been paid back ($25 billion); unemployment-insurance extensions ($67 billion); COBRA extensions ($9 billion); Cash for Clunkers ($3 billion); and loans to automakers for energy-efficiency improvements ($8 billion). That’s $452 billion. Factor in $296 billion in stimulus funds that have yet to be spent and $136 billion in refundable tax credits that passed in December as part of Congress’ bipartisan tax compromise, and you wind up with $884 billion on the spending side of the equation...

And here's the concluding paragraph:

.... during an accounting argument, it’s useful to have real, live numbers to battle over. On the rare occasion Republicans do allude to real stats, they tend to shout about the growing short-term deficit, a problem that has a lot more to do with declining recession-era tax revenues and increasing safety-net outlays than anything Obama has done, or not done. Instead, Republicans should be referring to the amount the president has decided to spend so far: $884 billion. They can say it’s too much, and that a thriftier approach would’ve been better for the country. Democrats can reply that rescuing the U.S. economy from a second Great Depression for less than the price of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was a relative bargain. Both sides, meanwhile, can debate the wisdom of cutting more than $900 billion in taxes while spending is going up. At least they’ll be arguing about facts, not fantasies.

Precisely. That's exactly the sort of discussions we (by "we" I mean teabaggers and our politicians, and the talking heads) should be having. Fair questions, tough ones, based on reality. Will they wake up and do so, before it's too late?

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