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The Truth About Deficits?

  1. crankalicious profile image85
    crankaliciousposted 2 years ago

    What do you think of this "factoid":

    Every Democratic president since Jimmy Carter left a smaller deficit than he inherited (including Obama).

    Every Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower left a bigger one.

    Does this: annoy you, anger you, surprise you?

    Discuss!

    1. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      One facet of "factoids" is that they are usually not encumbered by context. ie. the details.

      As Wilderness stated, there is a lot more to the picture than just the "impression" given by the factoid.

      For instance; considering the very similar wording;
      "... In my lifetime, every Democratic President has left office with a smaller deficit than he inherited, and every Republican President except Nixon has left office with a larger deficit than he inherited. " source: U.S. Federal Deficits, Presidents, and Congress by Stephen Bloch

      I may have stumbled across the report you drew your factoid from, or perhaps it could have been the report someone else used to generate the "whatever" that restated the factoid you used.

      ps. it does seem to be a well-considered assessment of the data

      This same report included the following:
      "Table 2: The Top Ten Deficit Years

      I have in my hand a copy of tonight's Top Ten list....

          2008-2009, at $933 billion - Democrat President*
          2009-2010, at $694 billion - Democrat President*
          2011-2012, at $424 billion - Democrat President*
          1943-1944, at $361 billion - Democrat President*
          1942-1943, at $337 billion - Democrat President*
          2010-2011, at $310 billion - Democrat President*
          1944-1945, at $287 billion - Democrat President*
          2007-2008, at $262 billion - Republican President*
          1985-1986, at $245 billion - Republican President*
          1990-1991, at $235 billion - Republican President*

      Again, 2012-2013 is probably somewhere on that list, but I don't know exactly where because I don't know how to correct for the Treasury department's "extraordinary measures" to stay below the debt ceiling. "
      *this author, (GA) added the president's party data

      This "factoid shows that Democrat Presidents own the top seven of ten largest one year deficits in history.

      Hmmm... If this impression were accepted as it stands it would seem to be a stark contrast to the "impression" given by your original factoid.

      Ah hell, who cares about the details anyway, talking points are what really matter, or else you would have included some context.  Right?

      To answer your question, I am neither, annoyed, angered, or surprised. Just a little more informed, because I almost always learn something when looking at the mosaics factoids are plucked from.

      GA

      1. crankalicious profile image85
        crankaliciousposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Seems to me that among the relevant takeaways with both sets of "factoids" is that President Obama entered his first year as president with a huge deficit and it's gone down each year. This would seem to be in stark contrast to GOP criticisms that he's spending out-of-control.

        I completely agree with Wilderness that if the funding for Obamacare is being pushed far down the line, that severely skews any assessment of Obama's deficit spending. And that would apply to any president whose budget does such a thing.

        1. GA Anderson profile image88
          GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          The issue of the deficit Obama inherited in his first year in office falls into an area also addressed by the report I linked to.

          Extreme conditions, ie. wars, recessions, bailouts, etc. can drastically skew the appearance of the data. (as you indicate) The report's author included a secondary assessment of these type deficits by averaging the term years. I didn't go back and dig, but Obama isn't the only president this has happened to.

          As for his declining deficits, (I bet this will get a rise...), a major part of those reductions were the repayment of TARP funds - which were structured to achieve those repayments by.... wait for it.... "W!" Even the first $25 billion of the auto bailouts.

          Sorry, could not resist that poke in the eye. I am hopeful that Pres. Obama's deficit reduction trend continues. But, like the original factoid, there is a whole story behind your statement concerning his reductions. And I do not believe any of that story vindicates him of the charge of "over spending."

          To get a broader picture of why I say that... look past the deficits to the national Debt. Because that too is a whole 'nuther story.

          GA

  2. Dont Taze Me Bro profile image78
    Dont Taze Me Broposted 2 years ago

    Obama hasn't left yet.

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      There's a little more to the story, as well.  That he also inherited a war that had to be paid for, for instance, as well as the highest one year deficits in the history of the world.  More telling, seems to me, would be the total deficit accumulated in that administration as well as what they left the next president with in the way of deficit or hidden spending (such as Obamacare).

      1. Dont Taze Me Bro profile image78
        Dont Taze Me Broposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        You have a point. Just like it's not how many executive orders a president issues compared to other presidents, it's how many were unconstitutional, the size of the deficit at the end of a term doesn't tell the whole story and the size of the deficit is not a function of the current administration only. Things are always more complicated than cherry picked statistics.

  3. swordsbane profile image60
    swordsbaneposted 2 years ago

    Congress votes on the budget.  The President doesn't.  Deficit, good or bad is CONGRESS fault... not the President.  The President can only sign what Congress puts in front of him.  He can veto a budget, but if Congress really wants it, they can override him.  The President cannot override Congress except with an executive order.  But even that is subject to being voided by an independent piece of legislation in Congress.

    Don't get me wrong.. the president has power, but the ultimate authority is Congress.  Every budget ever placed in front of the president to sign has first been approved by Congress.  Any fault or credit should go to Congress.

    We should be worried about what Congress is doing, not the President.

    1. GA Anderson profile image88
      GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      The data I discussed, and which I think might have been the "factoid" source, included Congressional make-up in its evaluation.

      But relative to your comment... I think the way Obamacare was passed shows your point to be less than accurate. Congress followed the President's lead - so it was on him - it was his expenditure, his deficit.

      FDR's programs are another example of Congress following a president's lead. Congress is complicit,  but it is the president's deficit.

      GA

      1. swordsbane profile image60
        swordsbaneposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Obama works for the Democrats, and HE followed THEIR lead.  They've been trying to get something like this passed for a while.  Congress didn't do what the President wanted.  Obama did what the Democrats wanted.

        1. GA Anderson profile image88
          GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Tomato or tomahto,  The president is the leader of their party. So isn't it the same-same?

          It still wasn't Congress' deficit.

          GA

          1. swordsbane profile image60
            swordsbaneposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            No.  People in tje government get aesy with too much because they blame others.  Fix the presidentcy and you only fix one man.  He is still beholden to the party and Congress can still do what they want.  We need to fix the parties, and to do that we focus on Congress.   Get Congress to start behaving itself and the prez van go monkey shit Fascist and he can only do so much damage.

            1. GA Anderson profile image88
              GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Well, since we are off the topic of presidential deficits, as was the point of the OP, I can agree with what you say here. What we have is definitely a bottom-up problem.

              GA

    2. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      First step in the process is for the president to propose a budget to congress.  It is HIS budget, no one elses.

      1. swordsbane profile image60
        swordsbaneposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        The budget can't pass without Congress approval.  Period.  There is no "reverse veto" power of the president.  He says "How about this?" and Congress says yes or no.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Has never passed without presidential approval, either.  Technically possible, but has never been done. 

          With the net effect being Congress says "How about this?" and the president says yes or no.

          1. swordsbane profile image60
            swordsbaneposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            That's only because of the infighting inside Congress. I don't want a government that depends on not being able to get things done for not doing bad things.  The solution is the same in either case: clean house in Congress.

            I work on a production line.  I'm supposed to check parts for defects.  If I go to QC and say "Is this good?" and they pass it, if it turns out that the part is bad... QC catches hell, not me, because they approved it.  If the President goes to Congress and says "Is this the budget we want?" and Congress says "Yes"  They should catch hell if it's a stupid budget.  Just because they never exert their authority, doesn't absolve them of the responsibility for HAVING that authority.  It actually makes it worse because they CAN fix the problem (or at least try) and they don't.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Well, not too long ago, half of Congress told the other half "Here is the budget we want; pass it or the country shuts down!".  And the other half said "Here is the budget WE want; pass it or the country shuts down!".  And the country shut down.

              Whereupon the president, in his infinite wisdom, jumped into the fray and began doing the most stupid thing possible; selectively shutting down the parts of government that make a profit.  National parks that charge a fee.  Private business, leasing public land to operate on.  Closing the parts that would hurt people the worst.  All in a political game to get the budget HE wanted while blaming it on someone else.

              Yeah, they CAN fix problems, they just won't.  Their individual vision of what will bring them the most power/money always overrides what the country needs.

      2. swordsbane profile image60
        swordsbaneposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        And Congress can (and does) propose their own budgets.  They also alter the Presidents budget in committee.  I don't ever remember them simply rubber stamping what the President proposed, even if he was a member of the majority party.

 
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