Thursday, February 12, 2009

Deficits then and now

This Wall Street Journal graphic has been getting a lot of play in the blogosphere today:

As you can see, the deficit is set to absolutely explode. This is interesting because Democrats spent the better part of the last years criticizing President Bush -- with some merit -- for fiscal irresponsibility. Some select quotes:
Rahm Emanuel, February 2004: "The deficit is going to be a symbol of [the Bush Administration's] credibility problem, and the budget is going to be the document we use."

Harry Reid, July 2008: "The large budget deficit is a symptom of the many serious problems that Bush-McCain Republicans refuse to address. Rather than continuing the flawed policies that produced this result, Democrats believe we must change course."

Nancy Pelosi, March 2005: "The budget never reaches balance. It heaps tons of debt onto our children and grandchildren and it will eventually lower our standard of living. We cannot let that happen to our country."

Barack Obama's economic adviser, July 2008: "These have been years of unprecedented fiscal irresponsibility."
Plus there's this bonus quote straight from the horse's mouth about offsetting spending cuts:
Barack Obama, October 2008: "For my energy plan, my economic plan, and the other proposals you'll hear tonight, I've offered spending cuts above and beyond their cost."
The thing is, I never took these criticisms seriously at the time they were made. Democrats weren't upset about the deficits per se, they were just upset that they resulted in part from tax cuts. If they really cared about the deficit they could have proposed slashing spending, but that would be anathema.

At least with the votes for the stimulus package we can see their bombast exposed for the obvious hypocrisy it represents.