Vail Valley Voices: Dems dug that economic hole
Vail, CO, Colorado
I suspect many of my fellow conservatives find Keith Spero’s commentary “Dems start in a hole; Bush dug us into a deep hole” to be offensive and, in many regards, factually incorrect. If he had done his homework, he would know that the digging of this hole started long before George W. Bush entered the White House.
Let’s start with the biggest hole, the economic meltdown, by summarizing a few facts (which liberals tend to grossly overlook), as presented by the Investor’s Business Daily, explaining what caused the loan crisis:
– President Carter, in 1977, signs the Community Reinvestment Act, which allowed financial institutions to extend home loans to those who would otherwise not qualify.
– President Clinton, in 1993, rewrote Fannie May and Freddie Mac’s rules forcing banks to accept subprime and minority loans led by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and Sen. Chris Dodd, both Democrats.
– Bush, in 2001, and fellow Republicans try to bring fiscal sanity to Fannie and Freddie, but were blocked by Democrats Frank and Dodd, who run key banking committees and were huge beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the mortgage giants.
– Bush’s 2003 proposed overhaul of the housing finance industry was killed by the Democrats.
– Republican Sen. John McCain, in 2005, sponsored a Fannie-Freddie reform bill that was killed by the Democrats.
The Bush Administration urged reform 17 times. Fannie and Freddie were created by Democrats, regulated by Democrats, largely run by Democrats and protected by Democrats. This hole was not dug by George W. Bush. Period!
Now to the real facts surrounding the Bush administration and big government. You liberals want to claim how Clinton downsized the federal government, balanced the budget and created a surplus. First of all, Clinton does not get the credit for downsizing the federal government. In March 2000, the total federal government employment was 2,899,363. In December 2007 (latest data available), the total federal government employment was down to 2,730,050, or 5.8 percent less. That’s with the formation of a whole new Department of Homeland Security and a build-up in military strength. See http://www.census.gov/govs/www//apesfed.
But then, you say, “The national budget almost doubled under the Bush administration.” True. However, you have to analyze where and why. Check out http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy08/hist.html, table 3.1.
Percentage of total budget:
In 1992: For national defense, 22 percent; for human services, 56 percent; and all other, 22 percent.
In 2000: For national defense, 16 percent; for human services, 62 percent; and all other, 22 percent.
In 2008: For national defense, 21 percent; for human services, 63 percent; and all other, 16 percent.
During the Clinton years, spending on national defense went way down (he downsized the military, dangerously, which really hurt the war on terror and, in the long run, cost more to ramp back up). However, even with a wartime economy, Bush is allocating 1 point less on national defense in 2008 than was allocated in 1992. But look at what Clinton did with human services, increased it 6 points in eight years; Bush only 1 point in eight years. Also, “all other” under Clinton had no change, but under Bush went down 6 points. Even though the total dollars are greater in 2008, the percentages of how the funds are allocated tell a different story. Under Bush, spending shifted from “all other” to national defense due to the war on terror, etc., and he only increased human services by 1 point.
Then, you say, “Yeah but look at the national debt. Under Clinton we had a surplus.” True, but Clinton did not have to fight two wars and Mother Nature, plus he drastically cut military spending. If Bush’s current budget and fiscal and tax policies were followed as planned, the Treasury would have a surplus once again by 2012. Of course, this will not happen now with all the bailouts the Democratic Congress is authorizing.
Not only has the size of the U.S. government gone down under Bush, the spending on human services was held at bay and “all other” went down. I say the Bush Administration did far more to decrease the size of the U.S. government than did Clinton. Even though we are spending more, mostly on national defense, the actual physical size of the federal government has gone down more under Bush than under Clinton.
You say Bush mismanaged the Iraq war. That one I might agree with you. However, we cannot overlook the fact that since Sept. 11, there has not been another attack on the U.S. I hope Mr. Obama can make the same claim after his term. With American leadership and sacrifice, Iraq has a future and the U.S. has an ally and presence in the heart of the Middle East. With a free and democratic Iraq, the U.S. may eventually be repaid in full for the financial cost of this war. Iraq is neither the first nor the last foreign soil where American lives will be sacrificed for the advancement of freedom.
The problem with liberals is you can’t keep your facts straight. As the saying goes, liars can figure, but figures don’t lie. You seem to think that if you repeat misinformation and lies long enough, and loudly enough, eventually people will take it as the truth. Well, I’m here to tell you and all your liberal buddies, there are many people like me, FOX News and Rush Limbaugh who will speak the truth with the facts to back it up.
As to the hole Mr. Obama has to dig his way out of, I refer to a commentary by Perry de Havilland (London), titled “Obama in the White House.” “I Support The Bailout” McCain would scarcely have done much better.
The economic global meltdown is only just starting to roll. If you think the subprime mortgage crisis was the biggie, just wait until you see the fallout from the fun and frolics of the impending mess in other areas, such as debt swaps. This is all going to get worse, a lot worse, and Obama is going to do absolutely everything to dig the holes deeper. Looking back on this period 10 to 20 years from now, the Republicans crying into their beer tonight will be saying, “Thank Christ it was not us in office then.”
Former Colorado Republican Majority Leader Mark Hillman was right when he stated, “The hate and scorn heaped on George H. Bush by many who disagree with his politics is disgraceful.”
Your comment, Mr. Spero, “History will mark George W. Bush as the worst president this county has ever had” is a perfect example of what Mr. Hillman is referring to. Your commentary is pure hate and scorn.
Jim Akin is a Vail resident.