A common theme of the new administration and their media minions is that all the problems associated with the economy and the rising budget deficits are George W. Bush's fault.
On Sunday's "This Week," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said (video available here, relevant section at 9:40):
Remember we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. The cumulative consequences of the policies this country pursued over the last 8 years left us with 6 trillion dollars of more debt than we would have had by making a bunch of commitments to cut taxes and add to spending without paying for those.
Sadly, host George Stephanopoulos didn't challenge Geithner on these numbers. Here are the facts:
On March 14, 2008, then Sen. Obama voted in favor of the 2009 budget which authorized $3.1 trillion in federal outlays along with a projected $400 billion deficit. The 51-44 vote that morning was strongly along party lines with only two Republicans saying “Yea.”
When the final conference report was presented to the House on June 5, 2008, not one Republican voted for it.
This means the 2009 budget was almost exclusively approved by Democrats, with “Yeas” coming from the current President, his Vice President Joe Biden, his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Tough to claim you inherited something you voted for, isn’t it?
But that’s just the beginning, for on October 1, 2008, Obama, Biden, and Clinton voted in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program designed to prevent teetering financial institutions from completely destroying the economy.
Couldn’t Obama only disavow responsibility for this if he had voted no along with the other 25 Senators disapproving the measure?
And what about the $787 billion stimulus bill that passed in February with just three Republican votes? Wouldn’t Obama only be blameless if he vetoed it and was later overridden?
Of course, he didn’t, and, instead signed it into law on February 17. Nor did he veto the $410 billion of additional spending Congress sent to his desk three weeks later.
Add it all up, and Obama has approved every penny that will be spent in fiscal 2009 either via his votes in the Senate or his signature as President.
But you couldn't tell that from what transpired on "This Week" Sunday:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: I do want to want to get to that and as we pull out of the recession the other big worry going forward is deficits. You heard that from the Chinese this week. You hear that this week and our next guest Alan Greenspan has warned of this as well, and Senator Charles Grassley, the Republican ranking member of the Finance Committee cited CBO estimates, Congressional Budget Office estimates, that your budget will add 9 trillion dollars to the national debt over the next decade.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY: Our debt as a percentage of the economy will grow in excess of 80% a level that also has not been seen since this country was in World War II.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a very high level and I know you believe that passing health care is essential for getting the deficit under control but independent analysts say even with that you are going to need to find new government revenues. The former deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman said it is no longer a matter of whether tax revenues should increase but how. Is he right?
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: George it is absolutely right and very important for everyone to understand we will not get this economy back on track, recovery will not be strong enough to sustain unless we can convince the American people that we're going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established. Remember we inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit. The cumulative consequences of the policies this country pursued over the last 8 years left us with 6 trillion dollars of more debt than we would have had by making a bunch of commitments to cut taxes and add to spending without paying for those.
Exit question for Mr. Stephanopoulos: Do you actually know the facts concerning this matter and didn't challenge Geithner due to your loyalty to the Democrat Party, or are you too ignorant of fiscal policy to be responsible for interviewing such a person?
Whichever the answer, people who watch this program are clearly being short-changed whenever economic or fiscal matters are being discussed.