Democratic Convention 2012

Remember Back When Democrats Criticized Republicans for Exploding the National Debt?

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That was then

CHARLOTTE–Democrats so far this year aren't talking much at their national convention about the country's $16 trillion debt, its ongoing 40 percent-plus budget deficit, nor its unsustainable trajectory on entitlements. But that's in sharp contrast to their 2008 convention, when fiscal recklessness was one of the most popular charges thrown at Republican nominee John McCain and then-president George W. Bush. A sampling of what Democratic rhetoric looked like back when Team Red held power:

Democratic Party Platform:

In this time of economic transformation and crisis, we must be stewards of this economy more than ever before. We will maintain fiscal responsibility, so that we do not mortgage our children's future on a mountain of debt. [..]

Our agenda is ambitious–particularly in light of the current Administration's policies that have run up the national debt to over $4 trillion. Just as America cannot afford to continue to run up huge deficits, so too can we not afford to short-change investments. The key is to make the tough choices, in particular enforcing pay-as-you-go budgeting rules. We will honor these rules by our plan to end the Iraq war responsibly, eliminate waste in existing government programs, generate revenue by charging polluters for the greenhouse gases they are releasing, and put an end to the reckless, special interest driven corporate loopholes and tax cuts for the wealthy that have been the centerpiece of the Bush Administration's economic policy.

Hi Hill!

Hillary Clinton:

[A]fter eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home; and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead of us: jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices, a Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock, and our government in partisan gridlock; the biggest deficit in our nation's history, money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis; Putin and Georgia, Iran and Iraq.

Evan Bayh:

George Bush took the largest surplus in our nation's history and turned it into the largest deficit, borrowing billions from China, Japan, even Mexico. John McCain would continue this dangerous fiscal irresponsibility. That is not the change we need. […]

[Barack Obama] will reduce the record deficit and bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. 

Jim Leach:

[T]he party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.

America has seldom faced more critical choices: [….] Whether it is prudent to borrow from future generations to pay for today's reckless fiscal policies or elect a leader who will shore up our budgets and return to a strong dollar.

Things looked different then

Nancy Pelosi:

Republicans say John McCain has experience. We say–John McCain has the experience of being wrong…on the failed Bush policies that has weakened our economy and taken us from the Clinton surplus to reckless Bush deficits[.]

Robert Casey, Jr.:

The Bush-McCain Republicans inherited the strongest economy in history and drove it into a ditch. They cut taxes on the wealthiest of us and passed on the pain to the least of us. They ran up the debt, gave huge subsidies to big oil companies, and now they're asking for four more years.

How 'bout four more months? We can't afford four more years of deficit and debt, drift and desperation. 

His wife used to shop at my supermarket.

Dennis Kucinich:

Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt.

Deval Patrick:

The same folks who say they believe in small government and fiscal restraint are responsible for the biggest expansion in the size of government and the size of the federal deficit in American history.

Mark Warner:

John McCain promises more of the same—a plan that would explode the deficit that will be passed on to our kids. 

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  1. Most of the debt we have remains having been run up by Republicans.

    All of the policy changes necessary to affect it have been opposed by Republicans since January 2009.

    1. You are comic gold, Choney. Comic. Gold.

      1. I don’t see what being a libertarian has to do with giving Republicans a pass for their massive fiscal irresponsibility, especially in the face of their hypocritical bleating over the issue whenever they don’t have the White House.

        Their tax cuts, wars, and crony-capitalist domestic programs caused the deficit and exploded the debt. They oppose any measure to stimulate growth in the economy to increase revenue, and certainly oppose any actual increases in revenue. And their prescriptions for debt remain crony-capitalist nonsense that no economist thinks will do anything to reduce the debt.

        That Democrats are worse stewards of the budget is a long-disproven stereotype Republicans want you to believe. Nothing about being a libertarian, that I’m aware of, entails believing Republican lies.

        1. You are the comic gift that keeps on giving. Way to argue against a bunch of straw men.

          After posting a couple statements utterly bereft of accuracy.

        2. We libertarians have been extremely critical of the GOPs fiscal profligacy. Take off your fucking partisan blinders and understand that criticism of the Obama’s irresponsibility does not negate our equal criticism of the Bush’s identical irresponsibility.

          1. Also, Bush isn’t running for President this year.

            Criticism of Bush’s policies is about as relevant to the present as criticism of any of Lincoln’s or FDR’s policies, except insofar as they provide some cautionary tales.

          2. Calling it “identical” is both to ignore numbers and facts and to excuse the particularly radical and egregious idiocy of the Bush administration. I may be partisan but you’re wearing the blinders.

            1. They’ve both spent lots of money and racked up huge debt. Obama is on a greater pace than Bush (and I’ll throw you a bone and say he’s not entirely responsible for that increase)

              1. What has Obama not done that he was able to do? Ignoring that Obamacare has been shown to reduce the deficit (something you’ll dismiss out of hand), on fiscal proposals alone Obama has offered up a viable plan rejected by anti-tax zealots in the GOP. The single biggest bit of nonsense in the whole debate is that deficit and debt can be addressed without any increased revenues. Very Serious People will say that spending must be addressed too, to which I say OK fine, but since the largest single policy contributor to the deficit has been tax cuts there should be at least room to acknowledge that taxes have to go up if you actually care about the problem.

                1. T o n y| 9.5.12 @ 5:59PM |#
                  “Ignoring that Obamacare has been shown to reduce the deficit (something you’ll dismiss out of hand)”

                  Lie, shithead.

                2. Very Serious People will say that spending must be addressed too, to which I say OK fine, but since the largest single policy contributor to the deficit has been tax cuts there should be at least room to acknowledge that taxes have to go up if you actually care about the problem.

                  We could go back to 2003 spending levels and have a surplus, so clearly the tax cuts aren’t the main issue.

                3. Tony: The single biggest bit of nonsense in the whole debate is that deficit and debt can be addressed without any increased revenues.

                  Except it can be. If we froze spending, we would balance the budget within a few years. Imagine what would happen if we cut just 1 or 2%! (a cut of course being from what we spend today, not that projected increase bullshit)

                  1. You’d have to cut significant chunks from GDP–I hope you have a plan to make up for it in this depressed economy, other than magic (the usual rightwing economics solution).

                    Increasing taxes is the least painful way, and would blunt any pain of cutting. You just don’t want to do it because you want to shrink government. That’s fine, but say that, don’t claim it’s the only way to address this specific problem.

                    1. Huh? Interesting how a 1 or 2% cut in spending is significant, and would hurt a depressed economy, but raising taxes is the least painful way. God you are fucking dumb.

                      Also, if you are raising taxes on everyone I can somewhat respect that as your method for reducing the deficit, but if you are like your boy BO and are only raising rates over 250k then I would like to ask what good an 80 billon year increase in taxes does when your deficit is well over a trillion dollars? Because guess what Tony, an extra 80 billion still means you have a trillion dollar hole.

        3. They oppose any measure to stimulate growth in the economy to increase revenue

          Sheesh, Tony, you want to talk “crony-capitalist nonsense that no economist thinks will do anything to reduce the debt,” all the “measures to stimulate growth in the economy” by the Democrats qualify. Even hardcore Keynesian economists don’t assume that the multiplier is large enough to actually reduce the debt. That’s as crazy as Art Laffer’s wildest dreams on the supply side.

          1. Keynesians do believe that (in a time where Aggregate Demand is below potential, as if that’s easy to measure) stimulus can help the economy. But it takes a ludicrous multiplier to assume that it actually helps the economy so much that it raises tax revenue by more than it costs.

            1. Which is exactly why Keynesians seem like flat-out liars, these days. Paul Krugman has a high IQ, so it’s not that he’s stupid.

            2. That stimulus almost never pays for itself is correct, but there has been some analysis that the near-unique circumstances of the current economic conditions make it so that it could be possible (interest rates near zero and a sustained high unemployment). That is, if the economy is sufficiently depressed, stimulus could be self-financing. Plus when considering the effects on economic health it is less important to look at the absolute debt figure than debt relative to GDP, i.e., solvency. Taking both debt and GDP into account, the positive effects of stimulus are more apparent.

              Either way we’re both arguing for tax increases.

              1. T o n y| 9.5.12 @ 5:56PM |#
                “That stimulus almost never pays for itself is correct, but there has been some analysis that the near-unique circumstances of the current economic conditions make it so that it could be possible…”

                Yes, when the unicorns fart.

              2. That is, if the economy is sufficiently depressed, stimulus could be self-financing.

                Yeah, and under the right conditions so would be supply side tax cuts. Or stimulus in the form of checks to people, as Bush and the Democrats tried.

                The results of the 2009 stimulus do not look self-financing, and interest rates and the growth of money (and aggregate demand compared to potential) were even lower then (since people argue that we’ve had somewhat of a recovery since 2009.) Stimulus, under any theory, has diminishing returns.

                Therefore, while one can construct such a theory and claim that we had the historically unlikely conditions, it appears to have failed based on real-world trials.

                You and other Democrats are extrapolating what you wish to believe far beyond what the economists and theorists think possible. Not unlike Republicans who exaggerate positive supply-side benefits.

                Plus when considering the effects on economic health it is less important to look at the absolute debt figure than debt relative to GDP, i.e., solvency.

                So what you’re saying is that George W. Bush’s deficit and debt wasn’t so bad at all, since the debt relative to GDP was even lower then?

                1. If the 2009 stimulus was not self-financing, then more money, due to diminishing returns and the improved economy, would be even less likely to be self-financing.

                2. Plus when considering the effects on economic health it is less important to look at the absolute debt figure than debt relative to GDP, i.e., solvency.

                  We’re currently spending 8-12% of GDP in deficit spending to get 1-2% annual growth rates. That’s hardly a measure of solvency.

                3. No there is argument that we are in that type of situation–a rare type of recession, one that’s happened twice in the last 100 years. Just about as rare as scenarios in which Laffer takes effect, I guess.

                  Sure we’re less solvent than under Bush. But the aforementioned giant recession did start on his watch too, making all the debt he racked up all the worse.

              3. Taking both debt and GDP into account, the positive effects of stimulus are more apparent.

                Either way we’re both arguing for tax increases.

                No–we’re arguing for spending cuts. If the current revenue as a percentage of GDP is the lowest its been since 1960, when the tax rates were much higher, clearly the tax rates aren’t as important to the equation as you think.

        4. I don’t see what being a libertarian has to do with giving Republicans a pass for their massive fiscal irresponsibility,

          Reason has written about insane Republican spending.

          Read the articles once in awhile buddy.

    2. Remember when, what? Oh, look, shithead beat ya to it:

      T o n y| 9.5.12 @ 4:30PM |#
      “Most of the debt we have remains having been run up by Republicans.”

  2. That debt? You didn’t created that.

  3. Lefties hereabouts back in the Aughts used to talk about fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. Right up until 2006. Then, all of the sudden, it was about spending. Once 2009 got going, it was about SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I wonder what changed?

    1. The party out of power is always fiscally responsible. It’s easy to be thrifty and prudent when someone else holds the purse strings.

      1. Exactly. What will an all-GOP government do, cut spending or redirect it some? I have a guess.

  4. The rampant partisan bootlicking masquerading as rational thought, on display no matter where you look, is all the proof you need of just how fucked we really are.

  5. The Democrat’s criticisms were correct, but they cynically made them to condemn the ruling party, rather than because they would do anything differently. And they’ve continued the same tired old policies of spend like there’s no tomorrow. But how is this any different in essence to Mugabe’s policies in Zimbabwe which caused the world’s latest hyper-inflation?

    Spending more than your income is not a viable long-term strategy, the tax-payers and poor suffer, see http://www.lifestrategies.net/money/

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