AP Blames Budget Deficits on Bush, Tax Cuts and War

Have you noticed that whenever a liberal media member discusses budget deficits he or she always blames tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?Yet, spending on items referred to under the broad category of Human Resources -- which, by the way, represents 64 percent of our current expenditures!!! -- is always completely ignored. Such was the case Tuesday when the Associated Press published an article placing all the blame for our current budget deficits on the Bush tax cuts as well as the wars our nation is waging (h/t Jeff Poor):

The government recorded surpluses in the fiscal years 1998 through 2001. But that all changed once Bush was in office a year. Saddled with costs from the Sept. 11 attacks plus the tax cuts he pushed through Congress, Bush took the $127 billion surplus he inherited from former President Bill Clinton and turned it into a $159 billion deficit the following year. Then wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and more tax cuts swelled it to $413 billion in 2004, a record until $454.8 billion for the fiscal 2008 year that ended Sept. 30.

First, isn't it interesting that there was no mention of a recession in the early part of this decade which certainly reduced tax revenues? The author also chose to ignore the non-recurring component of the 2000 and 2001 receipts inflated by capital gains taxes on stock sales.  This is an issue liberal media members always conveniently sidestep even though the Congressional Budget Office has regularly issued reports concerning this matter, including one on December 20, 2002:

Stock market-sensitive components of revenue are a comparatively small fraction of total receipts. But they appear to have played a big role in the run-up of receipts relative to GDP in the late 1990s. And while there is little hard evidence as yet, they probably also played a major part in the fall in receipts of the past two years. 

A CBO report a few months earlier estimated capital gains taxes added over $120 billion to revenues in 2000 alone. How much did this drop in 2002 as stocks suffered their worst year in many decades? Might this have had something to do with the $172 billion drop in tax receipts from 2000 to 2002?Unfortunately, such matters are never brought into this equation by liberal media members, nor are specific data in the budget that go counter to their agenda.For instance, although spending on national defense did increase by $151 billion from FY 2001 to FY 2004, spending on Human Resources rose by $291 billion. As such, wouldn't the AP be MUCH MORE ACCURATE if it stated, "Then wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a huge increase in spending on things such as education, training, employment, social services, health, medicare, income security, and social security swelled the budget deficit to $413 billion in 2004, a record until $454.8 billion for the fiscal 2008 year that ended Sept. 30."After all, from FY 2001 to FY 2004, spending on "Education, training, employment, and social services" rose by $30 billion; spending on "Health" rose by $68 billion; spending on Medicare rose by $62 billion; spending on "Income security" rose by $62 billion; spending on Social Security rose by $63 billion. This is a total of $285 billion, or fully 69 percent of the FY 2004 deficit! Didn't any of these increases play a factor in our nation's budget growing by $430 billion from FY 2001 to FY 2004? Or was the $151 billion increase to defend our nation the sole culprit?    Apparently, in the eyes of the AP, 151 is bigger than 285.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.