May 23, 2011 8:08 AM

Lest any of us forget how we got to where we are

Some lawmakers, pundits, and others continue to say that President George W. Bush’s policies did not drive the projected federal deficits of the coming decade — that, instead, it was the policies of President Obama and Congress in 2009 and 2010. But, the fact remains: the economic downturn, President Bush’s tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years….

It’s become almost an article of faith among the congoscenti on the Right that Barack Obama’s policies are largely responsible for the mess we’re in. I suppose this only goes to prove two things:

  1. Americans have a disturbingly short and selective memory, and
  2. Americans are a highly suggestible, malleable, and an easily propagandized collection of barely lucid sheeple.

The reality is that, if not for the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our deficit would be eminently manageable. What’s driving the projected debt these days is a toxic combination of Right-wing partisanship, denial, and refusal to recognize and admit to historical reality. In addition to the reasons I just listed, you might take a look at the reality that the current GOP leadership voted to raise the debt ceiling 19 TIMES during the reign of Bush the Younger.

Theme warning: for anyone who may have missed the blindingly obvious, hypocrisy seems to be the recurring theme here….

Now we found ourselves stuck with a political climate in Washington that refuses to admit to reality and yet has no problem blaming the President, unions, and the middle class for our fiscal clusterf—k. Rather than recognize and reverse the policies that got us to this point, Republicans in Washington think the path to prosperity is by metaphorically setting senior citizens adrift on ice floes and tax cuts for the wealthy.

A lucid and informed observer could justifiably wonder when Republicans will admit that the biggest reason we are where we currently find ourselves is the Bush tax cuts. When will we finally be able to have an honest debate about how to pull ourselves out of the hole that Republicans created for us? Judging by the vitriolic tone in Washington these days and the undercurrent of denial and obfuscation emanating from the Right, I’d have to say never.

In an effort to inject something resembling balance into this debate, it should be acknowledged that much of what’s happened in Washington could have been prevented. If Democrats had shown even a modicum of moral courage, they could have used their majority in both houses of Congress to their advantage. They could have used their majority to beat back Republican efforts to create an America focus primarily on the interests of the wealthy. President Obama could have drawn a line in the sand and displayed the courage of his convictions campaign promises. Sadly, neither of these things happened…and so Republicans did what Republicans do: dissemble, prevaricate, and create straw men. No, Republicans are not solely to blame for the mess we’re in, but they are the active catalysts. Democrats, for their part, are responsible for their passivity and timidity. They had the power to do the right things…and they simply lacked the balls to do it.

And so Rome burned while John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Paul Ryan fiddled….

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on May 23, 2011 8:08 AM.

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