White House finds Bush’s hidden $2.7T deficit.

President Obama has eliminated the stupid accounting tricks by the Bush administration and found the nation to be $2.7 trilliion more in debt over the next decade, Jackie Calmes writes in the New York Times. A Republican trashes the budget and leaves a Democrat to clean up the mess…shades of Jim Gilmore?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

16 replies on “White House finds Bush’s hidden $2.7T deficit.”

  1. Did you read the article? The accounting practices that are supposedly being revised have been common practice by Presidents (plural) and Congresses (plural) for many years.

    You do your readers a disservice when you pull a Ben Tribbett and point the finger at one convenient — and inaccurate — scapegoat.

  2. The trick of not counting the expense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the military budget but instead having repeated supplemental appropriations, as if it comes as a surprise every year that we’re going to have to pay for the wars, does seem to be a Bush innovation.

  3. You’ve got it, Will.

    A Democratic president and House, with a Republican Senate—that’s how I like my government. On paper, I should want Democrats across the board, but the results under a split government are just better.

  4. A Democratic president and House, with a Republican Senate

    The House was under GOP control during six of Clinton’s eight years… and as Will pointed out, that’s when the the budgets were balanced.

    The point remains — these accounting “tricks” were hardly a Bush-43 invention.

  5. As my point remains—I like government with a Democratic president and a House, with a Republican Senate. We tried straight-up Republican government, and that led to record deficits. We’ll see how straight-up Democratic government turns out.

  6. You know what would be especially nice? If we had a political party in this country that was less spend-happy than the Democrats. Until the GOP does some serious house-cleaning, I fear for our long-term economic future.

    Also, I would have loved to have seen some conservative support for divided government around here when I was arguing for it any time over the last three years.

    For the record, I still support a divided government, but I do think a period of rejection and failure will do the GOP well to help it clean itself up. Call it “tough love,” maybe? I want a government divided between liberals and conservatives (with a liberal slant, of course), but given the options of Democratic control vs. the party of Rush Limbaugh and his brownshirt followers, I’ll take the Dems only and cross my fingers that the GOP gets its act together soon (or that the blue-dogs and libertarians can split off and form a replacement for them).

  7. The problem with your solution, Waldo, is that the Republicans in the Senate have been the roadblocks via filibusters. Remember when the GOP Senators decried the Dems’ filibusters, demanding an “up or down” vote? Now, with the GOP in an even smaller minority, filibusters/cloture votes have exploded. With them in the majority, the Democrats would be justified in returning the favor, though I doubt they have the political acumen to do so. There would be total gridlock with the GOP in control of the Senate. Why do you think it would be better government?

  8. It’s simplistic to say that results are better under a split government given the history of the political parties in this country. Looking only at party margins ignores the fact that Southern Dixiecrats resulted in an effectively split government with a conservative Congress, as opposed to an actual split government. When civil rights votes came up, the fact that Democrats controlled congress was of no help to LBJ. It is ideological majorities (the more and better Democrats argument) that push through viable agendas. During the waning years of the Bush administration, Democrats controlled Congress on paper, but there were enough Blue Dogs to give conservatives an effective majority. “Split government” isn’t as simple as it seems.

  9. It’s simplistic to say that results are better under a split government given the history of the political parties in this country.

    Well, sure—it was a three-sentence comment to a blog entry. :)

    I like a Republican majority in the Senate for a few reasons. First, because Republicans are capable of being a voice of fiscal conservatism, but only if they’re not in charge. As we saw under Reagan, GHW Bush, and GW Bush, Republican presidents love to spend, and they do even more of it with the support of a like-minded Congress. That’s a brake that a single-party government needs. Second, because a Republican majority in the House is just trouble, because, man, some of those guys are out there. Senate members have to get elected by a whole state, not just a district, and so they tend to be more reasonable people. And finally because divided government is healthy. The give-and-take of debate means that things move slower, but also more deliberately.

    Anyhow, that’s a simplistic—but less simplistic—explanation of why I think divided government is good, and why I prefer it to manifest itself in the form of a Republican Senate.

  10. doing a war categorized as “endless” off-budget is what Bush & the Republicans did.

    Then.. they decided since they could do the war off-budget.. why not forget the budget process all together…

    That’s where the deficit came from….folks

    I love the Pachyderms – they define the term revisionist history…

    that’s why their primary strategy is “message”.

    what they do is cover up their actions with words…

    that’s why they’re tossed out… because they talk the talk and then refuse to walk the walk.

  11. The heavy-lifting of fixing the budget defecit under Clinton came in the first two years of his administration when his budget proposal with higher taxes was passed – with no Republican support.

  12. “We tried straight-up Republican government, and that led to record deficits. We’ll see how straight-up Democratic government turns out.”

    We’ll see, Waldo!?!?!?! We’ve already seen, and the result is a broken record.

    BTW, before you credit Barry for “cleaning up” the budget, or honesty, is he treating Social[ist] Security taxes as government income, or are they being put into a trust fund? If not, then there’s no more (and probably no less) honesty here than in the forty years since a mostly Democrat Congress has been absconding with the “Social Security trust fund.”

  13. James, are you saying you do not want your Social Security when the time comes?

    If not, then thanks. We could stand to save all that money that we can.

    As far as how revenue is treated by the government, for the last eight years, there has been a steady shovel on the money barge. That would be the Republican Congress and CIC spending our futures at the rate of billions of dollars per month in a failed war that we didn’t need to have.

    Too bad about that waste, huh, James?

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