The Corner

Re: And Another Thing . . .

Ramesh, the Obama team’s claim about Ryan voting for the “Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit” really is ludicrous. Here is the federal deficit as a percentage of GDP through the Bush and Obama years. (Source: White House historical tables):

As you can see, the deficit exploded in Fiscal Year 2009. Of course that fiscal year started in October of 2008, and includes the last quarter of Bush’s presidency, when TARP was passed. You could plausibly say the deficit explosion started at the very end of Bush’s presidency, but only with the embrace of bailout/stimulus policies that have been the hallmark of the Obama administration. In any case, Obama came in for the second, third, and fourth quarters of that fiscal year, and piled on stimulus and other supplemental spending bills several times larger than TARP. That’s where most of the “exploding deficit” for 2009 comes from. 

The bigger picture is this: If you count FY 2001 as a Bush-era budget (three quarters under Bush) and FY 2009 as an Obama-era budget (three quarters under Obama) then the picture we get is this: The Bush-era budget deficits averaged about 2 percent of GDP, which is the historical average for the federal deficit since the end of World War II. The Obama-era budget deficits, by contrast, have averaged 9 percent of GDP. It’s bad enough that team Obama doesn’t see this is much of a problem at all, much less a crisis that threatens the future of the Republic. But it is really shameful that they would try to tag Paul Ryan, one of the most fiscally responsible conservatives, with “exploding deficits.”

Mario Loyola is a former White House speechwriter and environmental adviser. He is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

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