I am writing in response to a syndicated column by Byron York on Aug. 11 in which he claims Bush bashers ignore facts, then promptly ignored facts and distorted financial information.
He admits that the debt was $5.7 trillion when President George W. Bush took office and $10.6 trillion when he left office (please read his column). He also admits Bush had a budget surplus his first year, which he inherited from President Bill Clinton.
Even assuming a break-even first year, then the debt increased $4.9 trillion over seven years, or an average of $700 billion per year.
However, if you read his yearly deficit figures, not one was as high as $700 billion, which we all know is impossible.
Of course, he casually admits the deficit increased in 2008 with the start of the recession but conveniently omits the $1 trillion-plus figure Obama inherited.
Now, as I am sure York was aware but a lot of people aren’t, the Bush administration did not include the cost of the wars and other “emergency spending” in the budget figures (the Obama administration is including all spending). The bottom line is the yearly figures are irrelevant, but the total increase in the debt is what’s important.
He also states revenue increased after the Bush tax cuts, then admits revenue fell for the first two years. Naturally, after some time, revenue will catch up and exceed prior revenue because of a growing economy and inflation. The question is, what would tax revenue have been without the tax cuts? Most economists of all political stripes put the figure at about $2 trillion more revenue from the time of the tax cuts to the present.
York also insinuates Obama is running up the debt, as if his policies are responsible. The only real spending Obama can be charged with is the stimulus spending, which amounts to about $660 billion over three years, or about $220 billion per year. Remember, about one-third of the total $1 trillion stimulus package was tax cuts. Again, if you listen to independent economists (not talk-show hosts), they estimate the stimulus created about 2 million jobs.
The truth is, no matter who became president in 2008, the deficit was going to be more than $1 trillion.
Now these are the facts, but unfortunately I have to agree with York that most people are not interested in the facts and cling to their beliefs like religion, regardless of the facts.
Louis J. Bonnecaze Jr.