Who’s to blame for the deficit?

Lot of talk about the deficit this week.  American Progress was kind enough to put these numbers in some context of where they came from:

The policies of President George W. Bush make up the largest share,
followed by the current economic downturn, and then President Barack
Obama’s policies.

Shares of contribution to fiscal deterioration 2009 and 2010

Cause Percent of total
President Bush’s policies 40%
Current economic downturn 20%
President Obama’s policies 16%
Financial rescues begun by President Bush 12%
All other 12%

 

Had President Bush not cut taxes while simultaneously prosecuting two
foreign wars and adopting other programs without paying for them, the
current deficit would be only 4.7 percent of gross domestic product
this year, instead of the eye-catching 11.2 percent—despite the weak
economy and the costly efforts taken to restore it. In 2010, the
deficit would be 3.2 percent instead of 9.6 percent…

President Obama’s policies have also contributed to the federal
deficit—but only 16 percent of the projected budget deterioration for
2009 and 2010 are attributable to those policies. The American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act, designed to help bring the economy out of the
recession is, by far, the largest single additional public spending
under this administration.

One wonders where all the conservatives complaining so loudly about government spending where when Bush was president.  

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The ESPN approach to political coverage

I loved this post from Anthony Wright about the media (excepting Fox news, of course) would do well to cover the truly nutty town hall protesters in the way in which ESPN covers streakers, etc.  Which is to say, not at all.  Wright:

Everybody deserves a chance to speak his or her mind; nobody
disputes that. But how much attention should the media give these
people? It seems to me this is one case when the political media–or,
at least, Fox–could take its cues from the sports media.

When fans at a professional sporting event try to make a spectacle
of themselves–by being unruly or abusive, or running onto the
field–the networks go out of their way to avoid showing it. Why?
Because providing airtime to the disrupters would give too much
incentive for others to do the same at stadiums across the country.
Similarly, the media should focus on the issues of health reform,
rather than the rude and belligerent behavior of a relative few.

It seems clear to me that the protests are less about the substance of
the health reforms–which is often attacked with claims that have no
basis in reality–and more about a vehicle to oppose President Obama,
for whatever reason. They are merely the second episode to the “tea
party” programming that Fox News sponsored earlier in the year, where
the channel even provided the headline speakers across the country,
including here in Sacramento. (Those were similarly disconnected from
actual policy, as it was an anti-tax protest directed at the stimulus
which actually included a major tax cut.).

No one disputes the right to peacable protest, but actual disruption is another matter.  Televised baseball games would end up taking another hour dealing with all the crazies if those running on the field, etc., were rewarded by TV coverage.  Covering the nuts encourages the nuts. 

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