I was recently accused of sharing a “demon-crat biased” info-graphic comparing things under Presidents Bush and Obama. My friend proceeded to post some info-graphics of his own (from what I deem to be a conservative biased policy website). Another acquaintance then accused me of ignoring the “facts” about government spending, the national debt, and unemployment, so I decided that rather than post another info-graphic, I would do a little research and support what I had initial posted (mostly – you can’t trust info-graphics these days! LOL). Here is what I concluded.
Blaming the President for what ends up in the budget is not really fair since it is based on a faulty premise. The President proposes a budget, but Congress is the body required by law to pass all appropriations and submit the funding bills to the President for signature. So, the most the President can do is propose and then sign or veto what Congress passes. That is the Constitutional limitations of the Executive’s control over the national budget.
From 1995 to 2007 (104th – 109th Congresses), Republicans had the majority in the House. They also had the majority in the Senate during most of that time (the exception being June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003 due to Sen. Jim Jeffords changing from Republican to Independent and caucusing with the Democrats). So, except the first two years of President Bill Clinton’s term and the last two years of President George W. Bush’s term, the Republican party had most of the control of Congress; the people responsible for passing the budget. And don’t forget the two-week Government Shutdown of 2013 that occurred due to the efforts of Republicans to delay or defund the Affordable Care Act which was passed into law in 2010. I remember being an Active Duty Soldier during this time and wondering if we were going to get paid.
As for the national debt, the increase has more to do with the “unfunded” military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that began under President Bush. By “unfunded” I mean there were no massive bond drives (like WW II) or special wartime taxation policies (like almost every other conflict up through the Korean Conflict). The national debt has gone up because that is how Congress decided to fund these operations in Southwest Asia. In my opinion, President Bush should have pushed hard on Congress to enact wartime revenue measures since he is the President in office when we went to “war.”
For more information on wartime taxation, you can read this 9 August 2011 article by James Wright of ForeignAffairs.com. (There are others if you care to look.)
Now on to unemployment! Per a US News and World Report article from 28 October 2015, who got their statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has dropped massively during President Obama’s term where it had skyrocketed at the end of President Bush’s term. And the rate of average job gains under President Obama is 93,800 per month. While the rate was 21,350 per month under President G. W. Bush.
In fact, the top three Presidents for job growth were all Democrats; Clinton at 241,960/month, Carter at 219,400/month, and Johnson at 192,400/month. The President often touted by the Republican Party as the standard for growing the economy, President Reagan, is FOURTH with 165,760/month.
In an 8 December 2014 article by Bill Scher on the progressive website OurFuture.org,
the author states “Similarly, while Bush’s policies drove up the unemployment rate, Obama’s has pushed it down.”
Now we all have seen how different political parties and different politicians will cite different numbers for the rate of unemployment; usually insinuating they are comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. This is due to “cherry picking” the version of the unemployment rate that best satisfies their agenda. For information on how different agencies and political parties come up with different numbers for the unemployment rate, see this FactCheck.org article.
Now, let me say that I am not necessarily a fan of President Obama. He has made some decisions that I absolutely disagree with. But he isn’t the evil specter that destroyed America like much of the right-wingnuts would make him out to be.
What I find most disappointing these days is how prevalent confirmation bias has become. If you already don’t like a party or politician, everything you find will seem to support your already decided opinion. This is dangerous because it means folks aren’t looking critically in my opinion.
I respect my friends’ opinions as they are entitled to them; I just don’t necessarily agree with their conclusions.