Blame Bush? It’s Not Just for Democrats Anymore

The Republicans are crowing about this prospects in this Fall’s midterms and have been for quite some time.  Traditionally, the president’s party loses seats in a midterm election and I do expect we’ll lose some seats in the House and Senate simply because there were seats long held by Republicans that turned blue in 2006 and 2008.

The Republicans only have a platform of being the party of No.  And new polls out, which frankly are not promising for anyone, still show the American people prefer the leadership of President Obama and the Democrats over the Republican Party.

In this ABC News/Washington Post poll, Americans are asked: “How much confidence do you have in [ITEM] to make the right decisions for the country’s future – a great deal of confidence, a good amount, just some or none at all?”  President Obama comes in at 43 percent, the Democrats in Congress at 32 percent, and the Republicans in Congress at 26 percent.

When asked which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans), do you trust to do a better job handling the economy? Democrats came in at 42 percent compared to Republicans at 34 percent.

In a sliver of hope for Republicans, when asked if the election for the U.S. House of Representatives in November were being held today, would you vote for (the Democratic candidate) or (the Republican candidate) in your congressional district? (IF OTHER, NEITHER, DK, REF) Would you lean toward the (Democratic candidate) or toward the (Republican candidate)? Republicans edged Democrats by a single percentage point.

A new Time Magazine poll shows voters still like President Obama and most of those polled still blame President Bush and his policies for the financial mess we’re in as well as the recession.  Obama also beats Sarah Palin in a match up 55 percent to 34 percent. The same Time poll has voters preferring Democrats over Republicans by a single percentage point, making the Congressional races a statistical dead heat.

From the story:

The survey contained a batch of good news for both the President and Congressional Democrats, however. Asked to assign blame for the balky economy, 61% point to the Bush Administration, while 27% fault Obama. The President notched a favorable 31%-26% split between voters who believe his economic policies have helped and those who think they hurt, while nearly 80% believe the economy is stable or heading in the right direction. And despite the economic upheaval and political acrimony that have marked his term thus far, voters aren’t pining for Obama’s predecessor; they tapped Obama over George W. Bush by a 53%-33% margin. Nor are they convinced that Sarah Palin is up to the challenges of the Oval Office. Obama clobbered Palin, 55%-34%, in a hypothetical 2012 matchup that should have Democrats salivating.”
Since Republicans are suddenly turning into “deficit hawks,” you have to marvel at those in Congress who say we can’t afford to help those with extended unemployment benefits while continuing to lobby to make permanent the Bush tax cuts the benefit the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (and never failed to generate the investment, new jobs, and revenue promised by the Bush administration).
Here’s a chart using data from the Congressional Budget Office that examines our debt with the Bush tax cuts and without it.
1-31-07tax-f3.jpg
Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein writes that Republicans are positioning the expiration of Bush tax cuts as a “Democratic Tax Increase” and this is patently false.  From his column:

To understand what’s going on here, you need to go back 10 years to the passage of the Bush tax cuts. In order to maximize the size of the cuts, Republicans had to minimize the influence of minority Democrats on the package. So they chose to run the bill through the reconciliation process.

But that posed some challenges. Budget reconciliation had never been used to increase the deficit. In fact, it specifically existed to decrease the deficit. That’s why one of its rules was that you couldn’t use it to increase the deficit outside the budget window. Republicans realized they could take that very literally: The budget window was 10 years. So if the tax cuts expired after 10 years, they wouldn’t increase the deficit outside the budget window. They’d also have the added benefit of appearing less costly in the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates, as the CBO duly scored them as expiring after 10 years, which kept the long-range budget picture from exploding.

But the plan was never to have the tax cuts expire. Instead, the idea was that people would get used to the new tax rates, and no future Congress would want to allow a big tax increase, so when the time came, either Republicans in office would extend the cuts or Republicans in the minority would hammer Democrats until they extended them. And that’s where we are now: Democrats control the government, so Republicans are screaming about tax increases as a way to get Democrats to extend tax cuts.

It’s really hard to know where to start with this one. It’s not a tax increase passed into law by Democrats. It’s a reversion to old tax rates passed into law by Republicans. It’s not how law is supposed to work. It’s the result of twisting a budget process meant to reduce the deficit so you could use it to massively increase the deficit. And as for the policy itself, it’s a fiscal nightmare: No one who professes concern for short-term deficits can argue for the extension of these deficit-financed tax cuts and retain credibility on debt issues. This is a litmus test. It’s not Democrats who are trying to pass the largest tax hike of all time, but Republicans who are calling for the largest increase in the deficit in memory.”

  3 comments for “Blame Bush? It’s Not Just for Democrats Anymore

  1. Nicole Kin
    August 13, 2010 at 9:20 am

    When will you ignorant liberal democrats stop blaming Bush and realize that it was the dem congress under Bush who got us into this mess and it is your Messiah who is getting us in deeper. Any other president would have been impeached by now. The Chicago-style mob government that he has thrown upon this country is despicable. I only hope that BO and the rest of the czars reap what they sow and quickly!

  2. August 13, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Nicole — I suggest you read former Reagan budget director David Stockman’s assessment of how Republican policies got us into this mess. It was in the NY Times last week and it’s easy to find on the Internet. Impeach Obama on what grounds? Did he enter us into an illegal war against a country that didn’t attack us and then cut taxes in wartime — which has NEVER happened before?

    Any other president (McCain) would have led this country over a cliff by now.

    When will you ignorant conservatives do your homework instead of getting your talking points from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh?

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