Hoyer trots out the “Bush deficit” lie again
posted at 10:55 am on June 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Democrats have pressed hard for “pay-go” rules on budgeting, mainly as a way to justify tax hikes as they expand federal spending by an order of magnitude. In order to convince young voters of the necessity of “pay-go”, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told an audience at the University of Virginia that George Bush left Barack Obama with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and that pay-go would have stopped it. Hopefully, a few poli-sci majors will point out to their classmates the obvious factual deficiencies in this argument (h/t: Bad Outlaw):
U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer visited the University of Virginia on Monday to draw attention to the federal deficit of more than $1 trillion that today’s college students will inherit one day.
“We’ve left you with an extraordinary amount of debt,” Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, told a classroom filled with 25 students enrolled in the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership’s College Leaders Program. “Fiscally, we have been irresponsible and pursued, in my opinion, policies that are morally bankrupt.”
Former President George W. Bush, Hoyer said, left the current administration with a $1.3 trillion deficit. President Barack Obama and the Democratic-led Congress have since added to the overall national debt — most notably via the two-year, $787 billion economic stimulus package. …
Hoyer introduced a bill last week at the behest of Obama that would reinstate a “pay-as-you-go” or “PAYGO” law, meaning essentially that Congress would have to find savings that fully offset any reduced revenue or spending increase associated with expanded entitlements. The ballooning deficit, Hoyer said, has been brought about primarily by the rising cost of entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Where to start with this foolishness? First, a civics lesson. In fact, Congress appropriates federal spending, not the President, in our system of government. The President can propose spending, but Congress makes the final decisions on appropriations and spending levels.
Now, a history lesson. Which party was in charge of Congress the last two years of the Bush administration? Why, yes, it was the Democrats. I have no problem blaming Republicans for runaway spending between 2001-6, but 2007-8 belongs to the Democrats, including Steny Hoyer, one of that party’s leaders. For that matter, it also includes then-Senator Barack Obama. Deficits in that period are on their hands.
That’s especially true for the final deficit number. Anticipating a Barack Obama victory in the presidential campaign, Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid never presented George Bush with a budget for FY2009. Congress passed continuing resolutions that funded federal agencies at the FY2008 level until Obama took office in January, and then handed him an omnibus spending plan that boosted federal spending for the remainder of FY2009 — and expanded the deficit. That final deficit number belongs more to Obama than it normally would have in a transition year.
Last, let’s look at an eye chart. Guess which deficits are deeper:
Hint: The ones in red are Obama’s. The ones in gray are Bush’s. If you’re Steny Hoyer, that information may affect your vision, or at least your intelligence.
Do we have any Hot Air readers at UVa? Be sure to pass this around campus.