Comparing proposed Bush discretionary spending cuts with Obama’s is a wasted exercise. GWB-43 threw away any Republican claim to responsible fiscal policy. Regrettably it was much the same with GWB-41. Both declined to present their case to the public to rein in spending and instead took the easy way out. GWB-41 reneged on his “read my lips” promise and quickly raised taxes. GWB-43 just signed every spending bill that hit his desk, deficits be damned.
For Democrats to hold Clinton up as a great economic master ignores the fact that he stepped into an economic recovery from the 90-91 recession + the internet/technology boom + Greenspan monetary pump priming. And he left a emerging recession for GWB-43 to boot. To gain his surplus Clinton let defense spending lag and signed a welfare reform under pressure from a Republican congress. Clinton enjoyed his rare surplus due less to his efforts than a political split between the White House and Congress. My outrage is over the wasted opportunity to reform SSA, Medicare/Medicaid and Defense (mostly Clinton’s fault but also partly Republicans). That failure stings even harsher today.
Obama today does not hide his plan to drastically restructure the US economy. He will double the national debt in a very few years and is apparently eager to have government take over large portions of our economy. Favoring a president is not a zero sum game. I do not have to be (and I am decidedly not) a fan of GWB-43 to oppose Obama. Frankly, a pox on both their houses.
As I have read more and more blogs (economics, politics and markets) I have come to the conclusion that much of what I read is analogous to quarreling about who arranged the deck chairs – and whether to buy more or fewer – on the US Titanic. I am far more interested in helping to find a better captain who will steer away from the obvious icebergs and run a tighter ship or, failing that, finding a lifeboat.