Whose Debt Is It Anyway?

Ezra Klein, first-rate columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, published a fascinating piece today that puts the lie to the Republican charge that Obama has been a historic deficit spender.  You’ll have to go to his site to get the details, but here is the graph, which I rearranged to fit:

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34 Comments

  1. And yet just checking the first three board members (Aaron, Apfel and Cabrera) listed on the so called “non-partisan” “Center” against the opensecrets.org website shows that though they all were active political donators, amazingly not a dime went anywhere other than to Barack Obama or other Democrat candidates.
    Ezra Klein is already a known liberal columnist and just like the posts here it is his first amendment right to publish whatever propaganda he wishes to prop up Dear Leader’s re-election.
    Just don’t try to pawn it off as “credible” and “non-partisan”.
    In the real world, 15 – 10 is still 5.
    In the real world that “shellacking” the libs took in 2010 was a result of real voters fed up with being told 15 – 10 was only maybe 1 or 1.5 and the deficit really couldn’t be helped and didn’t matter.
    In the real world, continuing to blame others, continuing to take no responsibility, and continuing to contort facts to fit a pre-written narrative does not a second term deserve.
    But then again this is the EC and unicorns have been known to play freely here so take it for what it is: A liberal columnist, using twisted logic from a left populated think tank coming up with “facts” showing magically that Dear Leader isn’t not only not responsible for the current economic malaise he’s not responsible for the deficits either.
    Hillary said it best when describing fantasy facts in that they “require a willing suspension of disbelief”. Now SHE wouldn’t be hiding behind a columnist’s contortions, she would have either led us through this by now or at the very least accepted responsibility.

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    • In stead of using your same tired, childish lines, why don’t you offer an educated rebuttal. Get it from your right sided sources, we don’t care, just bring us something we adults can weigh against this piece. I cannot believe the Globe pays you for this.

      Kabe

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      • I don’t put the facts out there to change you and the Kool Aid drinkers. I merely point out that the EC is not nearly as “honest” and forthcoming with “all” the facts as he portrays and as you and the lemmings perceive.
        Yes, to you and dwain the lines may be “tired and childish” but then again countering the the left sided, one sided propaganda is a tireless and (not paid btw) job.
        As previously stated, I post nothing here expected to change any of the minds of the minions, it is done merely to point out the “Paul Harvey” for anyone else who might stray in.
        And as usual, I see both you and dwain don’t dispute the partisanship of the “non-partisan” center he uses, but instead resort to the same “tired and childish” lines and behavior you accuse me of. In the real world, the one that actually PAYS for all the programs you enshrine and outside your liberal world of unicorns and rainbows that’s called hypocrisy.

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        • That’s what I thought. No factual rebuttal, just more name calling. What is your purpose to use the term “Dwain Bwain” all the time? It sounds like you are trying to sound like a mentally challenged person or perhaps a deaf person. Have you ever thought about the people you may be offending with this? I already know the answer to that, hopefully the Globe will realize that your rants offer nothing to its customers.

          Kabe

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          • I’m sorry but I don’t think I used dwainbwain, you did. I also do believe the opensecrets.org issue regarding who the board donates to is fact. Sorry if gets you all twisted up but hey, facts and logic usually do that to libs so I completely understand and no harm on this end.

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          • KABE,

            You are wasting your valuable time arguing with someone who calls us “Kool Aid drinkers,” and “lemmings” and mentally deficient (dwain bwains) and “minions” and Nazis and other words not fit to print. That stuff passes for “facts and logic” in Geoff’s world, a very strange world indeed.

            Duane

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  2. RDG,

    Even though there’s the risk Geoff might “goo his jammies (sic)”, I’m going to feed his toy unicorn another rainbow anyway.

    http://www.peters.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=22&sectiontree=21,22&itemid=490

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    • I heard about that amendment, but hadn’t actually seen the language. Wow, now that is how Democrats should fight! Those Michigan Dems are aggressive folks, thankfully.

      Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  February 3, 2012

    Wait a minute, guys.

    Bush II raised our debt from (approximately) $5 Trillion to about $10 Trillion in eight years. Obama raised our debt from about $10 Trillion to $15 Trillion in 3 years. Can we all agree on those “simple” numbers?

    Then we look at the “out years” based on Obama’s own budget projections. Given his budget submissions to Congress we will be near $24 Trillion in debt come 2020, plus or minus a $ Trillion or so.

    Bush II ran deficits in the $500 Billion range and Obama has been running deficits in the $1.5 Trillion range, again plus or minus. Yet Duane shows us a “graph” telling us it is $5.1 Trillion (Bush) versus less than $1 Trillion for Obama???? How in the world does that happen?

    Any President starts his term(s) with a given debt and deficit number already in place. At the end of his term(s) he winds up with a new number for total debt and deficits. Those numbers cannot be SPUN unless someone is cooking the books. Hopefully the CBO and GAO do not allow that to happen, hopefully, again.

    Now of course Duane insists that I am far too pessimistic, he may use a stronger term, in my concerns over total national debt and what we are doing about it. Fine. That is an argument to be had.

    But to somehow suggest that Obama has really constrained our debt and deficits is just not correct. They have exploded on his watch, literally exploded. THAT is a simple FACT and no manipulation of numbers can deny that FACT. $5 Trillion over 8 years is far too much overspending, in my view.

    But $5 Trillion over THREE years is an EXPLOSION to my way of thinking, no matter what the reasons, good or bad, might be the cause of that explosion.

    Look at it another way. 5 (trillion) divided by 8 (years) is $625 Billion per year, average deficits from Bush II. 5 (trillion) divided by 3 (years) is $1.66 Trillion per year, average, almost three times the average deficits from Obama.

    Bottom line for anyone looking at the basic and simple numbers is BOTH Presidents spent a lot of money over what was collected in revenues. But ONE overspent at almost 3 times the rate, annually of the other one. Again, such is a FACT in my view.

    Now we can go back and argue WHY such overspending occurred. But no way can you SPIN the amount and rate of overspending.

    But more important to me is WHEN will the overspending go to ZERO. THAT is what this election SHOULD be all about.

    But for sure I will get a big argument herein over that point and for SURE the President will not campaign on such an issue. But hopefully the GOP will force such a debate upon him!!!

    Anson

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    • No, we can’t all agree on your “simple numbers.” You refuse to believe what is in fact before your very eyes, which I will distill for you:

      Bush inherited a budget with a surplus and with surpluses predicted for the future; Obama inherited a budget with a trillion-plus deficit and with trillion-plus deficits predicted for the future. All of that before he even sat down in the Oval Office. Most of the deficit spending was already baked into the budget cake.

      There is no way you can dispute that, Anson, and I note you don’t even try. You just assert your opinion as if that assertion is a substitute for facts. I suggest you read Klein’s piece, study the graphs, and then try to refute them if you can. But let me warn you in advance: you will find it difficult to do. In my opinion, Klein even goes out of his way to attribute more to Obama than he actually has to.

      Until you present a specific refutation of Klein’s analysis—or at least link to somebody who can—merely shouting your opinion at everyone just makes you look hard-headed. In other words, it just makes you look like a Republican.

      Duane

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  4. The criticism in the comments above is principally ad hominem and not on the logic, which Klein lays out cogently. It is based on the work of the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank which generally defends Democrat positions. However, it seems to me that Klein, in using their data, is being very transparent here about how he reached his conclusions. Also, the Center’s Wiki page notes that:

    ” . . . the Center’s analyses are based on the work of independent, nonpartisan authorities such as the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Government Accountability Office.”

    The chart is persuasive to me, and it coincides with other charts I’ve seen indicating that the Obama administration has been successful in reversing the sharp downward momentum inherited from Bush II, although it must be admitted that the stimulus spending started by Bush helped.

    Those who disagree with the chart would be more convincing, IMO, if they addressed specifics in Klein’s reasoning.

    The presentation of the data in an area chart is interesting in that the tan deficit area of the Bush era is so much larger than the Obama area, and even this may be under-emphasized because the eye tends to underestimate the effect of diameter on area of a rectangle. For example, a 48″ diagonal TV is 44% larger than a 40″ TV!

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    • Jim,

      As I told Anson, I think Klein goes out of his way to err toward the side of attributing more of the debt to Obama than he has to.

      You have correctly noticed that not one critic so far as actually refuted Klein’s analysis (there have been plenty of ad hominem attacks waged and a genetic fallacy committed, though) and I would also note that Klein himself was on television making the point that Republicans trying to refute his analysis do so my claiming that he is not attributing enough debt to Obama for his extension of the Bush tax cuts, while simultaneously arguing that the Bush tax cuts did not increase the deficit! Now that is some kind of fancy logic, isn’t it?

      And, by the way, I am shocked by the actual difference, as opposed to the perceived difference, between those two television examples. Our eyes often betray us, as I learned during arbitration advocacy training, but it is always a surprise to find out how much they do.

      Duane

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  5. henrygmorgan

     /  February 3, 2012

    Kabe: You have to learn that in Geoff Caldwell’s world, people who disagree with him are not merely wrong, they are stupid, They are not merely wrong, they are idiots. They are not merely wrong, they are dwainbwains. And in the ultimate end of the escalating degree of their wrongness, they reach the final judgment of their wrongness in Geoff’s strange world, they are village idiots.

    There is no use to point out to Geoff that this ad-hominem, infantile, name-calling is ineffective in argumentation, as I once did, he will respond that it is merely humor, although he doesn’t seem to realize that no one is laughing.

    He might consider this fact as one reason no one reads his blog, and that if it weren’t for the other bloggers, he would have no voice at all.

    Henry Morgan

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    • Funny isn’t it. You all attack me, yet still no one refutes the fact of the “non-partisan” center being anything BUT “non-partisan”. It’s not about anyone “disagreeing” with me or conservatives, it’s about liberals putting forth as “non-partisan” and “fact” that which is highly debatable on both points.
      But then the attacks show you already all know that or wouldn’t be defending the slight of hand so adamantly now would you?
      Please, by all means, keep those comments coming, this is going to make a great case study on a certain other blog devoted to just this type of group think.

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    • Henry,

      Your point reminds me of my days of listening to Rush Limbaugh. He had a great dodge when it came to defending some of his most contemptible remarks: He was just “tweaking” the “drive-by” media, don’t you know.  So, you see, if you call someone out for their obviously outrageous comments, why they were just jokes, or satire, that you didn’t get.

      Geoff has defended his calling 14-year-old Chelsea Clinton “ugly” by claiming it is time-honored satire. Yep, it is okay to satirize the looks of teenage girls in Geoff’s strange world.

      The truth about Geoff is that he has tried without success to be Joplin’s version of Rush Limbaugh, who also had a problem with making fun of Chelsea’s looks but who did offer an apology for what he said was a “mistake.”  We can’t even get an apology out of Geoff or an admission that the appearance of a teenage girl is not an appropriate subject for satire, even if the teenage girl happens to be the daughter of a despised Democratic president.

      Duane

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      • And again, not one comment regarding the opensecrets “fact” about the so called “non-partisan” center that created Klein’s numbers. But yet you all want to make it about “me”? I’m flattered.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  February 3, 2012

    Forget for a moment the language used. Just look at the SIMPLE NUMBERS over the last ten years.

    We began with a debt of about $5 Trillion. Ten years later we have a debt of $15 Trillion and predicitions of being able to “turn” that continuing increase in debt are dismal to say the least.

    We almost shutdown the government to reduce the rate of increase by about $2 Trillion over ten years, a fraction of what is needed to STOP encurring unsustainable debt.

    The only “logic” or counterargument that can be made is to challenge my chosen word of “unsustainable”. You can also make the “so what” , regarding the current size of our national debt as a percentage of GDP.

    Based on the numbers provided by the administration we in FACT have a debt, Sept 30, 2011 that is almost $18 trillion with a GDP somewhere slightly south of $15 Trillion.

    To me that is a debt to GDP ratio of 120% a ratio only reached during WWII.

    OK, that is where we are today, like it or not.

    The ISSUE before us is what to do about such debt,, already accumulated and to be accumulated in the future.

    To me the CLEAR implication is that the size of government (or money spent by government, which is the same thing) MUST come DOWN.

    Put all the shaded graphs or charts you like on a page, spin your own numbers however you like, but the inevitability of the ever increasing debt MUST be accounted for and resolved someday.

    WHEN becomes the question. And if our government does not do so, DECREASE our debt (which means a zero deficit), then someone else will do it for us.

    Anson

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    • Rep. Louie Gohmert is at least trying to address the issue:

      http://govne.ws/item/Rep-Louie-Gohmert-Applauds-The-Baseline-Reform-Act#

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      • Actually, I did acknowledge in my comment that the Center was “a think tank that generally defends Democratic positions”. But that doesn’t prove that Klein’s essay is fallacious and I stand by my comment about that. As for Rep. Gohmert, I watched the clip you offered. It appears to be a rant that could be summed up as,

        “Spending bad, automatic increases in spending (in 2005) very bad. Baseline reform act to stop automatic spending good.”

        I’m blown away by his intelligent, incisive analysis! Who knew? Let’s hope he tackles healthcare reform next.

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        • By all means, keep the commentary coming. I couldn’t buy this kind of material. Thanks!

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        • Jim,

          Gohmert, a birther, is one of those congressman who makes you long for a benevolent king to rule over us.

          Among a lot of crazy nonsense he has spouted, Gohmert is probably most famous for his conspiracy theory that terrorists have been impregnating American ladies and then taking the resulting lads overseas and making terrorists out of them. He claimed an FBI agent told him this was going on.

          He had a battle with CNN’s Anderson Cooper over that one, which is really not that much nuttier than his economic ideas or his stance on social issues.

          Duane

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  7. henrygmorgan

     /  February 3, 2012

    Geoff’s ability to miss the point is epic in its proportions. He tries to defend himself by raising the issue of Klein’s validity, yet he doesn’t attack Klein’s numbers, he attacks his political orientation, and that of the three persons cited. That is far from the thesis of my post, as I’m sure he well understands, despite the persiflage of his response.

    No where in my post did I mention Klein, the validity of his report, his political background, the politics of anyone, the vaidity of Duane’s argument, or anything other than Geoff’s propensity to attack individuals rather than their posltions with the most infantile form of name-calling. I merely responded to Kabe’s post, which had nothing to do with Klein or the validity of his article.

    Can anyone convince me that Geoff’s use of terms like “lemmings,” “Kool Aid drinkers,” “dwain,” “Dear Leader,” “world of rainbows and unicorns.” etc. that he intends to engage in reasoned discourse rather than insult his opponent?

    People are not right or wrong because of their political orientation. Any sentence that begins with You conservatives always . . .” or “You liberals always . . . is doomed to failure before the sentence ends. People are right or wrong because of the validity of their arguments and that alone, not because of their politics, their religion, their morality.

    I’m especially surprised that Anson defends this kind of behavior, since he doesn’t employ it himself, yet seems able to make his points.

    I repeat my original statement. Without resorting to the other bloggers here, Geoff would have no voice at all.

    Henry Morgan

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    • Henry has said it very well. However, he should not expect acclaim for his efforts, but only more abuse.

      “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

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    • Not all individuals Henry, just one who tries to put himself out as a “credible” source and then time after time posts “non-credible” stories or uses irresponsible methods. (I shall not go into all the details and point to the specific posts as they have been documented and commented on ad nauseam and no need to duplicate again here.)
      You and the rest of the ilk on the left are free to have your opinion as I have mine. You word yours as you see fit, I’ll do as I see fit.
      Perhaps one little truth you don’t know though is that all I do is practice Dwain’s own philosophy found on his own blog stating he himself would use “ridicule and sarcasm” to expose the other side.
      All I do is point out the hypocrisy of one side feeling it OK to mock and ridicule and use sarcasm as that side sees fit but then scream and kick in mock shock when it’s turned back on them. (And not to mention it’s a treasure trove of material when you all just keep it coming! lol)

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    • Anson not only tolerates it, Henry, he has at times encouraged it:

      Here is an exchange from a couple of years ago between Anson and Geoff on Anson’s blog:

      Geoff Says:
      January 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Reply

      Anson,
      “Debating Duane” is an oxymoron at best as “debate” would imply some level of reason, logic and intelligence residing in the gray matter of the one debating with. Graham has shown time and time again in his own words, such intelligence does not reside within the empty space that fills the knot atop his shoulders. He’s a good “shouter” in the mold of Daily Kos, Huffpo, Five Thirty Eight, etc.. but as an intellect trying to put forth workable ides the posts and columns are as empty as the space between his ears.
      Yes, it’s a bit harsh in my criticism but I get sick and tired of all the liberal whining about how bad this country is because the millions of lazy, uneducated dropout, I’m entitled because I was born, idiots refuse to take personal responsibility for their own lives and expect the rest of us to “re-distribute” our hard earned money to make their lives better. There is NOTHING you can’t do in this country if you really want it. It matters not your skin color, your sex, your gender status or whatever else is the “I’m a victim being heldback” special category of the day. Stay in school, get educated, work hard, be prepared and this great county will give back many fold. (Just be prepared to fork over a large chunk of it to please Graham and the libs for all the entitlements they want for those who DON’t get educated, work hard and stay current and prepared. lol)

      _________

      ansonburlingame Says:
      January 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Reply

      Geoff,

      Thanks. I note that Eisenhower would have never had a chance at winning without a few Pattons around. Keep driving you [sic] tank, buddy. You are headed in the right direction towards Berlin.

      Anson

      This is why I sometimes call Geoff “Berlin Boy.”

      Duane

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  8. henrygmorgan

     /  February 3, 2012

    Thanks, at least, Geoff, for not calling me names. Maybe you can learn.
    Henry Morgan

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    • No thanks necessary Henry. We’re all entitled to our opinions and I respect that you have yours and realize how I come across to those not always “in” on the “minutia” that has transpired from time to time. I use the rhetorical “over the tops” to point out the “over the top”, nothing more, nothing less. I’d guide you to the original column from way back in September 2010 that started it all but if I type the link here the comments either
      1. get changed and replaced, -or-
      2. disappear completely

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  9. ansonburlingame

     /  February 3, 2012

    To all,

    I encourage Geoff to express his views and in many cases I agree with such views, conservative views. I do not condone, praise or condemn HOW he expresses his views. That is entirely up to him.

    I also will point out, again, there are one or two regular commenters on this blog site that are at LEAST as bad a Geoff, actually much worse, in my view in terms of polemics against others, personal polemics.

    It is the ideas that count after all is said and done.

    Anson

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    • You miss the point that Geoff is a Globe blogger, not just a commenter. He should hold himself to higher standards, and the paper should hold him to higher standards in my opinion, than just calling people idiots and Nazis.

      Duane

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      • When did I call you a Nazi? Village Idiot, yes, but that’s just repeating what others already say. Nazi? I know I questioned your previous censorship and banning as that akin to Germany in the late 30’s, Goebbels shutting up the dissenters and such. Hmmmmmmmmmmm

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  10. henrygmorgan

     /  February 4, 2012

    Geoff makes my point for me remarkably well. No where in any of my posts did I mention my political affiliation nor Geoff’s, yet he attempts to defend himself by claiming that since I am “you and the rest of the ilk on the left,” my criticism cannot be valid.

    My criticism of Geoff has nothing to do with his political affiliation, which I am sure he knows.

    I can’t decide whether Geoff is incable of understanding or understands very well, but just doesn’t want to admit it.

    Either answer is revealing, isn’t it?

    Henry Morgan

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    • Oh Henry (Candy bar anyone) I’m not “defending” myself at all. Merely was trying to give you a little background of the history and the why. If you choose to see that as something else that’s completely your right and again I respect that but to think I don’t “understand” or see what’s going on over here would be the greatest understatement of all.

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  11. ansonburlingame

     /  February 6, 2012

    Henry,

    You and I “tangled” when I made a joke about Marines. Then we seemed to discuss with some understanding a different issue, one related to the increasing costs of higher education. The first “tangle” was a waste of both of our time. The second time the discussion was beneficial, at least to me.

    Now for the general theme of this, Duane’s blog. He himself admits that he writes polemically, from time to time, and he does exactly that in my view. Geoff usually tries to “one up him” at least polemically but as well with countering “facts” (links) that dispute what Duane writes. I think that is called fighting fire with fire and as we have seen in the recent GOP primary campaigns (negative a.ds) that is very much the nature of American politics today, like it or not.

    Duane also describes his blog as one of repetance for having been both conservative and evangelical earlier in his life. He thus writes, polemically sometimes, to repudiate those earlier views. But instead of “lashing his own back” out of repentance, he attacks MY BACK, a conservative one, with his writings.

    No Duane, USUALLY does not stoop to name calling with me, personally, though a couple of others herein do so quite often and I usually just ignore them. But TANGLE, between Duane and me, you bet, all the time. And I doubt that will change unless I simply give up and go away, which is usually not my “style” once engaged.

    If you want to see a “middle ground” that MIGHT be achievable, fundamentally between Duane and me, go check out my last comment on another of Duane’s blog in reply to confusion over why people are conservatives. It should be the comment just below this one in the list of comments.

    Anson

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