By Scott Tibbs, February 25, 2010
I've made no secret of my frustration with the big-government policies of the Republican Party under George W. Bush. Congressional candidate Todd Young has taken to pointing out this irresponsibility, telling the Herald-Times that the "Republican Congress was the most fiscally irresponsible Congress in American history - until this present Congress." While it's good to see a Republican not be shackled by partisanship and willing to criticize his own party for bad policy, it is important to add the perspective that was missing in Young's remarks about the Republican Congress.
According to White House figures, the budget deficit's history for the last few years is in a table to the right. The deficit is in millions of dollars.
Clearly, the deficit exploded during Bush's first term. However, things were improving significantly before the Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections, taking power in January of 2007. The 2006 and 2007 budgets were passed in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Mike Sodrel was elected in 2004, so he was part of the Congress that was charting a course toward fiscal responsibility.
The 2008 budget was the first budget that was passed by the Democratic Congress, with the support of Barack Obama. The 2009 budget was passed in 2008, and the deficit ballooned significantly with the bailout of the banks (TARP) and the failed "economic stimulus" package. Obama supported the former and was the architect of the latter. It should be clear that Obama owns the deficit.
We should not dismiss the fiscal irresponsibility that Republicans displayed in Bush's first term, but it would be a mistake to equate the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration with the wild-eyed spending spree that Barack Obama has rammed through the Congress. Republicans may have had a glass of deficit wine, but the Democrats are blasted drunk and the country is passing out as a result. Whining about President Bush and blaming everything on him will not erase the rampant fiscal irresponsibility of Barack Obama.