Friday, January 18, 2013

Federal Deficits: The Blame Game

Assigning blame for the national deficits is an excellent intellectual past-time for those not occupied by watching sports or filling out crossword puzzles.  Many explanations exist for rising federal deficits, including the bad economic "weather" (which even most economists failed to forecast), the rise of socialism, global warming, or even the End of the World.  While all of these explanations may contain elements of truth, a far simpler explanation lurks just outside the realm of direct cause:  The President.

The figure below illustrates the federal deficit in each of the years 2000 to 2012.  The source of this data is none other than Obama's minions:  See Table 1.  (Technical note:  As of today, Table 1 contained only an estimate for 2012.  I substituted a lower figure from the liberal media.)
At face value, considering the years he was in office (2001-2008), Bush's average deficit was about 250 billion.  Obama's (2009-2012) was about 1300 billion.  But this is probably not a fair comparison.  When a president takes office, spending for the coming year has already largely been determined by Congress and the previous president.  Supposing that it takes one full year before a new President deserves significant responsibility for spending levels, we must give Bush credit for the whopper 2009 deficit, and take away his little 2001 surplus.  This little adjustment would put Bush's average at about 450 billion and reduce Obama's average to about 1250 billion.  The remaining difference shrinks a bit if we also take into account inflation, or consider the deficit as a fraction of GDP, which has continued to rise overall despite the brief recession.

For those who are particularly concerned with wars and military spending, it seems that defense spending has shifted in focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, but the overall level of spending has remained quite stable in the transition from the Bush years to the Obama years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Show the budgets and tax revenues over the same period. Better yet, show them for states as well.

8:14 PM  

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