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.  

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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