* Updated June 28, 2010 *
The hysteria over the deficit misses a fundamental point: the country’s fiscal problems largely aren’t due to Obama but rather his predecessor.
Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame.
Nevertheless, the fact remains: together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).
The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.
If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.
“None of those represent Obama’s policies,” said James Horney, director of federal fiscal policy at the Center. “He didn’t run saying he wanted to pass a stimulus to deal with the recession or that he wanted to continue the war in Iraq or escalate [to this extent] in Afghanistan. He inherited these issues once he took office.”
FULL ARTICLE: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036