Last week in the Washington Post, Karl Rove was one of several individuals who took part in assessing the economy and what Obama should attempt to do in the coming year. This from Mr. Rove:
Congressional Democrats pushed through ineffectual legislation such as the stimulus that didn't produce the promised results.
They raised discretionary spending by 24 percent from President George W. Bush's last full-year budget and will run up more debt by October than Bush did in eight years.
They made a priority of the unpopular cap-and-trade energy tax while Americans were worried about jobs and the economy.
They squandered every opportunity for the bipartisanship President Obama promised in his campaign.
Then they ended the year with a pork-filled monstrosity of a health-care bill that's increasingly detested.
The solid support that Democrats enjoyed at the start of 2009 among independents and college-educated voters is gone: They and seniors have propelled the GOP to a nine-point lead in Rasmussen's generic ballot.
Congressional Democrats can't reverse their midterm fortunes by trying to pass itsy-bitsy pieces of insignificant but popular legislation. Voters will stay fixated on their existing mistakes. So Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should push for big things:: In for a penny, in for a pound. It would be hard to come up with less popular causes than they've already embraced. So find something that might redirect voter anger, especially if Republicans cooperate by failing to offer a positive alternative. Good luck: You made the mess.
This motivated David Axelrod to crawl out from under his slime encrusted rock and pen a response. It is breathtaking. This from Mr. Axlerod:
When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit -- and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade.
Where does Axelrod come up with this? Was Bush President through the stimulus. When Obama took the oath of office, the deficit stood at $569 billion. You only get to $1.3 trillion near the end of Obama's first year in office, when you start adding in the massive, pork laden stimulus bill plus all of the rest of the profligate spending from Obama. .
To continue with Mr. Axelrod:
During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.
To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit.
Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Obama elected because he claimed to be able to fix our economy? And even a year in, he is still blaming Bush for all current and future deficits? Sorry, Axlerod, but that one is far beyond it "use by" date. Besides, there is little more that Obama could be doing to hurt the business climate in America. Who will hire when looming in the backround are massive new taxes and costs from the threats of health care reform and cap and trade?
This fiscal irresponsibility -- and a laissez-faire attitude toward the excesses of the financial industry -- helped create the conditions for the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
The worst thing about the Democrats holding both the Senate and the House is that the left has been able to continue the greatest myth of our time, that our financial meltdown was brought about "financial industry" excess rather than social engineering of Democrats - and in particular Bill Clinton, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd - since 1993. It is obscene.
The only greater travesty is watching the Dems supposedly conduct an inquiry into the causes of our financial meltdown while utterly refusing to even address the subprime crisis at the heart of the meltdown. The "Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission" is now meeting. Perhaps the biggest clue that this is a pro forma white wash is that it the Commission's report is slated to arrive on 15 Dec., "long after Congress and the Administration hope to pass the most far-reaching reform of financial laws since the 1930s." Isn't that breathtaking.
The WSJ has an article on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission discussing how it is aimed only at the finanical services industry while ignoring the Fed, Fannie and Freddie - and I would add Bill, Barney and Chris. As the author so cogently opines, this is like writing a history into the causes of the Civil War while "ignoring slavery."
Here are some more of Mr. Axelrod's mendacious musings:
Economists across the political spectrum agreed that to deal with this crisis and avoid a second Great Depression, the government had to make significant investments to keep our economy going and shore up our financial system.
That is why President Obama and Congress crafted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Despite Rove's assertion, it is widely accepted that the difficult but necessary steps Obama took have helped save our economy from an even deeper disaster.
The truth of course is that the stimulus was not a way to start regrowing the size of the economy. It was instead a means of keeping public and public union workers in their jobs overtopped with funding for the entire A to Z list of Democratic pork projects, a list that included such things as $16.1 million for saving endangered marsh mice in San Francisco, a hundred thousand to porn producers as part of an $80 million NEA grant, and $500,000 in a grant for disgraced Prof. Michael Mann to do more studies on the canard of global warming. As to the wealth creating engines of America, they were virtually ignored in the stimulus. Of the 787 billion stimulus, all of 2.6% was dedicated to helping small businesses through the SBA, and only another 10% aimed at construction and infrastructure. When Obama told the nation that it would keep unemployment - now at Depression levels of 17.3% in real terms - under 8%, he was accurate in one sense. Public union employees are doing outstandingly well. It is the rest of America, the one's that produce the wealth that allows public employees to get paid, that are suffering a sucking chest wound. But that house of cards is about to come to a screeching hault also as the gravy train for the states runs out and the private sector, having been bled dry and threatened with ever greater taxes and regulations by Team Obama, cannot provide the tax funds necessary to keep the public sector afloat.
To continue with Mr. Axelrod:
. . . we also recognize that we need to address the long legacy of overspending in Washington. That is why, shortly after taking office, Obama instructed his agency heads to go through the budget page by page, line by line, to eliminate what we don't need to help pay for what we do.
As a start, the president proposed billions of dollars in cuts, and he'll continue to fight for them and others in the upcoming budget. An analysis by the Washington Times concluded that in this first year, Obama had been more successful in getting his proposed cuts through Congress than his predecessor was in any of his eight years in office.
How hard is it to give up a little pork when you are bringing in a whole herd of swine? Just as a reminder, this is what Axlerod is trumpeting, from Reuters in May, 2008:
The proposals to trim 121 programs identified by the White House as wasteful or unnecessary amounted to only a half of 1 percent of the $3.55 trillion budget that Obama has submitted for the fiscal year that begins in October.
Of the $17 billion in budget savings the White House identified, about half were in the defense budget.
That Axelrod is trumping that as proof of Obama's fiscal responsibility . . . hmmm, the words offensive and disingenuous just are far too mild to do it justice. But then of course, there is the claim that Obama is being financially responsible by relying on the CBO report to prove that health care reform will not only be budget neutral, but will reduce the budget. This from Axelrod:
And even as Obama has pursued landmark health insurance reforms that will hold the insurance industry accountable and expand coverage to working Americans, he has insisted from the beginning that any reform legislation must not add to the federal deficit and must help reduce it over time. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the legislation making its way through Congress upholds this principle. . . ..
Does Obama think that a majority of Americans are being fooled by this CBO mantra? Does Obama think that it hasn't filtered out that health care legislation he has proposed has as much a chance as being deficit neutral as a high school football team has of going to the superbowl. Obama's problem, and by extension Axelrod's, is that they have mistakenly conflated the ignorance of Americans with stupidity. The mere fact that the majority of Americans were willing to swallow the Obama-aid in 2008 does not mean that they close their eyes to reality thereafter. What is happening in Massachussets right now ought to be sufficient proof.