Defending Obama's Budget

Rick Sanchez defended Obama's budget on CNN Monday. He was attempting to methodically debunk Republican claims about Obama budgets, arguing that most of the trillions in spending came on Republicans' watch and Obama just added a little bit.

He started by claiming that Obama came into office facing a $1.2 trillion budget. Obama makes the same claim. Actually, the deficit for 2008, Bush's last year in office, was $459 billion. Bush does share responsibility for TARP though, so one could say that Obama was only partially responsible for 2009's deficit, even though his proposals added $787 billion in new spending through the failed "Stimulus," which was not supported by Republicans.

Of course it was all Bush's fault -- everything is Bush's fault after all -- so Obama can't be blamed even if he had to shell out $800 billion of our tax dollars to save his Wall Street and union friends. In fact, Bush and the Republicans do share some of the blame for the financial crisis, but it was a sin of omission, not commission. The truth is that the financial crisis was the direct result of a half-century of Democrat meddling with the housing market. Bush and the Republicans failed in that they did not push hard enough for needed reform.

But however he argues it for 2009, Obama owns the 2010 and 2011 budgets all alone. FY 2010 included the largest regular budgetary increase in recent history, a whopping 15 percent higher than Bush's 2009 proposal. According to Obama's 2011 budget, deficits for 2010 and 2011 are projected to be $1.6 trillion and $1.3 trillion respectively. And while Obama continues to call for health care reform, no spending for it is included in the 2011 budget.

The 2011 budget does, however, include an assumed $150 billion in deficit reduction from passage of healthcare reform. Who is he kidding? This is the same smoke and mirrors game the Senate played in claiming "savings" from overhauling healthcare. Don't believe it! The true cost will be in the trillions.

At last weekend's Republican retreat, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling claimed that Obama and the Democrats' monthly deficits now equal what Republicans used to run every year. What he had in mind was the House Republicans' twelve year history of budgets while they controlled Congress, from 1994 to 2006. Measured that way, the average budget deficit was $106.9 billion per year after correcting for inflation. Examining Obama budgets for 2009, 2010 and the 2011 budget proposal, Obama's deficits are indeed $105 billion per month; virtually identical to average annual Republican deficits for twelve years.

Sanchez attempted to refute that statement by comparing the 2009 $1.2 trillion deficit (actually it is $1.4 trillion in current dollars) with Obama's monthly deficits, implying that Republicans ran $1.2 trillion deficits throughout the Bush years. It was a pretty incredible misuse of statistics, even for CNN.

It doesn't look much better if the offending "Bush deficit" of 2009 is removed from the equation either. 2010 and 2011 deficits are projected to average about $104 billion per month. If the years Democrats have controlled Congress are included (i.e. 2007-2010), the monthly average deficit is still $67 billion.

In March of last year, the Heritage Foundation put together a brief analysis comparing spending during the Bush years to Obama's spending based on spending proposals for his first year alone. Here is what they came up with:

CNN has never been credible, but Sanchez's ruse was blatant even for CNN. Obama's gross misstatements need no explanation.
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