Obama's Not the Only One Telling Whoppers
In 2011 the hyper-liberal Senator Bernie Sanders had this to say on the floor of the Senate:
First of all, as countless others have pointed out, this doofus doesn't seem to know the difference between a deficit (the amount by which spending is greater than revenue in the current year) and debt (the total amount borrowed as the result of past deficits).
Secondly, I should point out, this is the guy who's an "independent" because the Democrats aren't far enough to the left for his taste.
Although his lack of knowledge between deficit and debt indicates his current mental status, he's apparently not too senile to lie like a Democrat (although his Alzheimer's does prevent him from telling lies that are anywhere near to believable.)
Let's start off with the notion that "the deficit was caused by two wars- unpaid for." Let's assume he's talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's further speculate that he means "debt" rather than deficit. Because if he truly meant "deficit" in the year 2011, a time in which President Obama wasn't even bothering to submit budgets and the Democrats held the Senate quite strongly, then his speech was really an accusation against them.
Two wars unpaid for? No...
- FY2003 Supplemental: Operation Iraqi Freedom: Passed April 2003; Total $78.5 billion, $54.4 billion Iraq War
- FY2004 Supplemental: Iraq and Afghanistan Ongoing Operations/Reconstruction: Passed November 2003; Total $87.5 billion, $70.6 billion Iraq War
- FY2004 DoD Budget Amendment: $25 billion Emergency Reserve Fund (Iraq Freedom Fund): Passed July 2004, Total $25 billion, $21.5 billion (estimated) Iraq War
- FY2005 Emergency Supplemental: Operations in the War on Terror; Activities in Afghanistan; Tsunami Relief: Passed April 2005, Total $82 billion, $58 billion (estimated) Iraq War
- FY2006 Department of Defense appropriations: Total $50 billion, $40 billion (estimated) Iraq War.
- FY2006 Emergency Supplemental: Operations Global War on Terror; Activities in Iraq & Afghanistan: Passed February 2006, Total $72.4 billion, $60 billion (estimated) Iraq War
- FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion(estimated) for Iraq War-related costs
- FY2007 Bush administration proposed $100 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan
- FY2008 Bush administration proposed $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan
Yep, about $750B of war authorizations, voted on by the House and the Senate. Voted for by noted liberals like Hillary Clinton. From 2007 on passed by the Democrat majorities in the Senate and the House. This is what paid for the wars in the Middle East.
"Huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people..." When you hear this who are you thinking about? Billionaires and millionaires are whom the Democrats want you to envision. But in 2011, when Bernie Sanders made this speech, the median income was $50,000. So a grocery store cashier making $26 per hour is suddenly above the 50% mark and becomes one of "the wealthiest people." Someone to be vilified and hated for receiving a tax break.
At the same time over half of Americans pay no taxes at all. How do you give a cut to people who pay nothing? By giving them a refund even if they paid no taxes. And that's the truth about deficit spending: It's not just about insufficiently punishing the people who make $26 per hour, it's about giving away free money to buy votes for Democrats.
Took a look at me: I have an office job. I sit in a 7x7 cubicle. I get a bi-weekly paycheck with all the standard withholdings. I drive to work in a 1993 Toyota. I buy my pants at Wal-Mart. When liberals like Bernie Sanders moans about "the rich" am I who you're envisioning? 'Cause I'm one of the people who got and appreciated the Bush Tax Cut. Ideally, people like me used the money the government didn't take to purchase things, thus stimulating the economy, allowing people to keep their jobs, and lessening the severity of the recession.
But let's for a moment pretend that Sander's rhetoric were true and it was the millionaires and billionaires who were the recipients of the Bush tax cut rather than us working stiffs. What would be the result of that? Well, according to liberal hero John F. Kennedy, cutting taxes increases revenue. Yeah, that's right, because of a little economic principal called the Laffer Curve, which has been empirically proven true time and again for nearly a century, reduced taxes leads to more jobs which leads to more taxpayers which leads to more tax revenue.
OK, we've knocked out Sander's claims of wars and tax cuts "for the rich" causing our current debt woes (yes, he did say "deficit," we're assuming he meant "debt," remember?) Now let's talk about greed and recklessness on Wall Street.
Everyone reading this lived through the Great Recession. It started only seven years ago! Think back, what was it that caused the financial meltdown? Wasn't it the collapse of the housing market? The millions upon millions of people defaulting on their home loans? Why? Why were suddenly an unprecedented number of people being subjected to foreclosure?
Noted economist Thomas Sowell sums thing up nicely:
"No one contributed more to the policies behind the housing boom and bust, which led to the economic disaster we are now in, than Congressman Barney Frank.
His powerful position on the House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Services gave him leverage to force through legislation and policies which pressured banks and other lenders to grant mortgage loans to people who would not qualify under the standards which had long prevailed, and had long made mortgage loans among the safest investments around."The irony is that Sanders (like all liberals) is doing everything in his power to blame George W. Bush for the Great Recession whereas the Bush Administration was the only entity sounding the alarm and trying to avert the disaster.
On September 11, 2003, the NY Times had this to report:
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry. The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios. The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.In an interview, Karl Rove discussed the efforts of the Bush Administration to prevent the Housing Meltdown:
"...there was concern about it, particularly in the housing area, we were briefed as far back as 2001 about the problems with Fannie and Freddie; in fact, we moved aggressively in 2004 to regulate Fannie and Freddie, actually got a bill through the Senate Banking and Finance Committee only to have it filibustered by [Sen.] Chris Dodd."Rove went on to talk about Barney Frank's contribution to blocking Bush's attempts to stave off disaster:
"In fact, in 2003, when we sent our first members of the Cabinet up to talk about this on Capitol Hill, Barney Frank had a hearing in which they basically beat up everybody we sent up there in pretty vociferous language. This is the famous hearing where one of the Democratic members literally says that he is ‘pissed off’ that the administration is even raising this issue."The "pissed off" Democrat was Rep. Gregory Meeks, who said at that Sept. 25, 2003 House Financial Services Committee hearing that he was “pissed off at OFHEO (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight),” because of the agency’s suggestion that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be regulated more closely. A number of other Democrats agreed there was no need for reform. Pretty hard not to see where the Great Recession really came from.
But let's look at the recent history of the debt. I couldn't find anything online so I used the US Treasury Search Engine to get the data to draw my own graph.
Wow, look at that. A steady rise in debt under the Bush-era Republicans. Certainly nothing for them to be proud of. But look where it really starts shooting up- one year after the Dems re-took both Houses of Congress. Bush was never much of a vetoer- he vetoed fewer pieces of legislation than any president since Warren Harding, some 80 years previous. In his last year of office he issued a mere four vetoes, three of which were overridden by Congress. In any real sense, 2008 was the first year of complete Democrat rule.
Let's look at the raw numbers:
Kinda hard not to notice the stark difference between Republican-era (2001 - 2008) deficits and Democrat-era deficits.
As for the notion that we're going to "balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, children, sick, poor, puppies, fuzzy-wuzzy bear cubs, etc." keep in mind that it's been estimated that welfare programs have cost us $3.7 trillion in the last five years. Add in the billions wasted on Green Energy (Solyndra) and bailouts for the auto and banking industries and it's not hard to see where the bulk of our debt actually came from. Obama blew through almost double the cost of the wars in his first year alone!
Democrats love to create the false dichotomy that either they be allowed to spend unlimited money or Republicans will just put all these wonderful Americans to death. Those are the only two choices there are.
The reality is that conservatives have put out the same message originally said by Ronald Reagan himself: "The best social program is a job." Give welfare recipients a job and change them from the needy, subsidized poor into the prosperous and tax-paying working class.
Unfortunately, taxpayers are less likely to vote Democrat, and thus that plan is of little interest to liberals like Bernie Sanders.