While regular readers know that I personally despise Obama as an intellectual lightweight and an incompetent leader, he alone is not responsible for the current economic and foreign policy mess. He’s just helping exacerbate things. Truth is, Obama’s problems were created by George W. Bush and the Republicans. I am pissed at everyone.
I was reminded of this the other day while listening to John McCain agitate for more US military intervention in Syria. He did the same stupid shit with respect to Libya. So, it is not just Obama who is advocating dangerous interventionist policies with respect to Syria.
As we approach the fiscal cliff, Republicans are wanting to protect the so-called “Bush tax cuts.” What this discussion ignores is the role that Bush spending played in worsening the deficit. Bush, with the backing of Republicans, authorized going to war in Iraq without the means to pay for it. Remember the insane claims of Josh Bolten and Paul Wolfowitz?
If Republicans want to claim the mantle of being fiscally responsible then they need to repent of this grievous sin.
The costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are significant. Rumsfeld insisted we could do Iraq for $60 billion. Actual cost? Close to 1 Trillion. Vanity Fair provided a thorough analysis of this:
In the run-up to the war there were few public discussions of the likely price tag. When Lawrence Lindsey, President Bush’s economic adviser, suggested that it might reach $200 billion all told, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld dismissed the estimate as “baloney.” Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz went as far as to suggest that Iraq’s postwar reconstruction would pay for itself through increased oil revenues. Rumsfeld and Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels estimated the total cost of the war in the range of $50 to $60 billion, some of which they believed would be financed by other countries.
For fiscal year 2008 the administration has asked for nearly $200 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Congress provides the money, as it almost certainly will, then the total appropriated for direct operations in these two countries (including reconstruction, embassy costs, enhanced base security, and foreign aid) since the wars began will come to roughly $800 billion. It is extremely difficult to disentangle the Iraq and Afghanistan numbers, but Iraq is by far the larger endeavor and accounts for about three-fourths of the total. By the administration’s own reckoning, then, the cost of the Iraq war, counting only the money officially appropriated, will soon be some $600 billion, or more than 10 times Rumsfeld’s original number.
Then there was the matter of the prescription drug benefit. Remember how the Republicans behaved back then?
Here are some things that happened on the night the GOP pushed the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit through the House of Representatives:
A 15-minute vote was scheduled, and at the end of 15 minutes, the Democrats had won. The Republican leadership froze the clock for three hours while they desperately whipped defectors. This had never been done before. The closest was a 15-minute extension in 1987 that then-congressman Dick Cheney called “the most arrogant, heavy-handed abuse of power I’ve ever seen in the 10 years that I’ve been here.”
Tom DeLay bribed Rep. Nick Smith to vote for the legislation, using the political future of Smith’s son for leverage. DeLay was later reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee.
The leadership told Rep. Jim DeMint that they would cut off funding for his Senate race in South Carolina if he didn’t vote for the bill.
The chief actuary of Medicare, Rick Foster, had scored the legislation as costing more than $500 billion. The Bush administration suppressed his report, in a move the Government Accounting Office later judged “illegal.”
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, a “no” vote, spent the night “hiding on the Democratic side of the floor, crouching down to avoid eye contact with the Republican search team.”
Rep. Butch Otter, who provided one of the final votes after hours of arm-twisting from the Republican leadership, said, “I thought there was a chance I would get sick on the floor.”
Let’s not kid ourselves that the Democrats are the only ones that have behaved recklessly when it comes to managing Federal Government expenditures.
Just because Republicans did it does not make it right for Democrats to do it. The actions of the Republicans were detrimental to the security and financial stability of the United States. The Democrats are now perpetuating that madness. Curse them all.