A few inconvenient truths getting in the way of the “inherited” meme

posted at 1:30 pm on August 5, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

As Barack Obama continues to blame his predecessor for the tanking economy and the chronic unemployment that Obama promised to avoid with his big stimulus package more than two years ago, and as other Democrats get aboard the Blameshift Express, Byron York attempts to set the record straight.  He focuses on the claim that eight years of spending and “reckless tax cuts” by the Bush administration bankrupted the country.  When one looks at the numbers, the Democratic argument doesn’t stand up at all:

This week a Florida Democratic representative, Corrine Brown, explained her vote against the debt-ceiling agreement by citing “eight years of horribly reckless spending and excessive tax cuts for the rich under President Bush and the Republican Congress.”

Some critics have trouble with even the most basic facts. George W. Bush was indeed president for eight years. But do Brown and her colleagues remember that Congress was fully controlled by Republicans just four of those eight years? The GOP ran the House from 2001 to 2007, Bush’s first six years in office, while Republicans only controlled the Senate from 2003 to 2007. (In Bush’s first three months, the Senate was divided 50-50 until the May 2001 defection of Republican Sen. James Jeffords gave Democrats control.)

As far as tax cuts are concerned, Bush did indeed cut taxes for the wealthy — along with everybody else who paid income taxes. But does Brown remember that tax revenues actually increased in the years after the Bush tax cuts took effect?

Revenues fell in Bush’s first two years because of a combination of the tech bust and the start of the tax cuts. But then things took off. After taking in $1.782 trillion in tax revenues in 2003, the government collected $1.88 trillion in 2004; $2.153 trillion in 2005; $2.406 trillion in 2006; and $2.567 trillion in 2007, according to figures compiled by the Office of Management and Budget. That’s a 44 percent increase from 2003 to 2007. (Revenues slid downward a bit in 2008, and a lot in 2009, when the financial crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.) “Everybody talks about how much the Bush tax cuts ‘cost,’” says one GOP strategist. “We’re saying, no, they led to a huge increase in revenue.”

And deficits shrank. After beginning with a Clinton-era surplus in 2001, the Bush administration ran up deficits of $158 billion in 2002; $378 billion in 2003; and $413 billion in 2004. Then, with revenues pouring in, the deficits began to fall: $318 billion in 2005; $248 billion in 2006; and $161 billion in 2007. That 2007 deficit, with the tax cuts in effect, was one-tenth of today’s $1.6 trillion deficit.

York notes that it wasn’t until Democrats took over Congress in 2007 — including one Democrat named Barack Obama in the Senate — that deficits began exploding.

Next, Harry Reid said that the loss of eight million jobs came during “the Bush eight years” in a floor speech this week, a claim that Politifact rated as “pants on fire”:

“My friend (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.) talks about no new taxes,” Reid said. “Mr. President, if their theory was right, with these huge (tax cuts) that took place during the Bush eight years, the economy should be thriving. These tax cuts have not helped the economy. The loss of eight million jobs during the Bush eight years, two wars started, unfunded, all on borrowed money, these tax cuts all on borrowed money — if the tax cuts were so good, the economy should be thriving. If we go back to the prior eight years during President Clinton’s administration, 23 million new jobs were created.”

A reader asked us whether Reid was correct that there was a “loss of eight million jobs during the Bush eight years.” So we looked into it.

As always, we looked at jobs numbers compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government’s official source of employment data.

During Bush’s eight years in office — January 2001 to January 2009 — the nation actually gained a net 1.09 million jobs. (Because there were gains in government jobs, the private sector actually lost 653,000 jobs during that period.)

This isn’t remotely close to what Reid claimed. Reid’s office didn’t respond to our request for information, but we think we know what he was referring to.

From the economy’s peak to its low point, the nation lost 8.75 million jobs. Here’s the problem: The peak for jobs came in January 2008, while the low point for jobs came in February 2010.  This means the starting point for Reid’s measure came seven years into Bush’s eight-year tenure, and the low point occurred about a year into Barack Obama’s tenure.

In other words, Reid had a point in saying that there was a “loss of eight million jobs” — but it didn’t come “during the Bush eight years.” The loss of eight million jobs occurred during a roughly two-year period shared more or less equally between Bush and Obama.

Well, the data is easily retrievable from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (now that it’s finally back on line), so let’s take a look at seasonally-adjusted private-sector employment over the last twenty years.  I’ve compiled the total number (seasonally adjusted) of private-sector jobs each month over the last 20 years and put them into this chart:

The blue colors of this graph show when Democrats held complete control of Congress, while the white areas show when Republicans held complete control.  The two purple areas show when Democrats controlled the Senate, as York notes above, and when Republicans controlled only the House.  This gives a much different picture of when job losses occurred, and who controlled policy in Congress when it happened.

When Democrats talk about “eight years of job losses” during the Bush administration, just show them this chart.

 

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Please don’t confuse democrats with facts.

txag92 on August 5, 2011 at 1:35 PM

la la la la I can’t hear you
-lsm

we can say it until we are blue in the face…with the lsm on their side it will ALWAYS be bush’s fault…the sheeple who continue their kool-aid intake will never believe the FACTS…it goes in one ear and out the other…you give them facts and its all but bush, but bush, but bush….

cmsinaz on August 5, 2011 at 1:37 PM

We didn’t “Start” the war in Afghanistan. I am sick of the left acting like it was even a choice to go there.
9-11 is another reason revenue fell in the first 2 years of Bush.
I know I saw it once, but what was the domestic economic impact of the attack?

redshirt on August 5, 2011 at 1:38 PM

This gives a much different picture of when job losses occurred, and who controlled policy in Congress when it happened.

i see. as soon as democrats took over, they caused a recession and a global financial collapse. smart analysis, ed!

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

also, too, if we hold congress responsible for unemployment figures, then wtf are the jobs, speaker boehner?

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Dem: this chart is just your interpretation, we deal in reality and it is Boosh that set us on the course to decline. Doncha remember how we beat him for the drastic declines, I.e. from 4.6 to 4.7 on some of the monthly reports. Or how when it would drop a point, it was explained that it was only an increase in low paying Burger flipping jobs? Yes Booosh is to blame and if not for us raising the minimum wage several times it would have been worse. E1eventy1!!11.

AH_C on August 5, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Great post, Ed. That is very valuable information to have at hand when talking to liberals.

pedestrian on August 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

How did Reid vote on those two unfunded wars?

BKeyser on August 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM

The blue colors of this graph show when Democrats held complete control of Congress, while the white areas show when Republicans held complete control. The two purple areas show when Democrats controlled the Senate, as York notes above, and when Republicans controlled only the House

Gracias Ed…..what a great tool.

This chart should be in every RNC TV spot and every conservative campaign or presser from now ’til election day.

Tim_CA on August 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM

I want to see more of that chart on the left side. How about it?

tbrosz on August 5, 2011 at 1:49 PM

i see. as soon as democrats took over, they caused a recession and a global financial collapse. smart analysis, ed!

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Poor reading comprehension and inability to read a chart. Is that what sesquipedophilia means?

Vince on August 5, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I think the DNC hired the North Korean propaganda director.

The democrats will be calling us “Yankee imperialist running dogs” before this is all over.

Rebar on August 5, 2011 at 1:52 PM

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

LOL…bayam’s on vacation in Albania again, right?

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM

And Obama’s press sec seems to agree that Congress is the driver, and Obama is just an innocent bystander.

RBMN on August 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM

The GOP still blew it those 4 years of total control (although they never had 60 votes in the Senate to avoid the filibusters). They tried to do something about the looming housing crisis, but when called “racists!” they backed off.

mankai on August 5, 2011 at 1:55 PM

I’d love to know why facebook share requires that I enter a security code when I share Hot Air blog posts. They don’t require it from any other website.

Connie on August 5, 2011 at 1:57 PM

“This isn’t remotely close to what Reid claimed…”

Any linky to a member of the opposing party calling him out on it…?

(crickets)

Seven Percent Solution on August 5, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I would also point out that the economy took a big hit post-9/11, and that the deficits were increased because of spending to fight the War on Terror.

tgharris on August 5, 2011 at 1:58 PM

i see. as soon as democrats took over, they caused a recession and a global financial collapse. smart analysis, ed!

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

fail.

The Dems took over in Jan 2007.

In 2004-05 the GOP tried to avert the coming housing crash, but you leftists declared that Fannie and Freddie were in AWESOME shape and that all the concern was just masked racism (isn’t everything?).

Listen to the opening quote from Richard Baker… he tried to warn you leftists, but facts never bother you. You felt good about Fannie and Freddie and that’s all that matters!

mankai on August 5, 2011 at 1:59 PM

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Listen to the opening quote from Richard Baker… he tried to warn you leftists, but facts never bother you. You felt good about Fannie and Freddie and that’s all that matters!

mankai on August 5, 2011 at 1:59 PM

It’s hard to listen to the facts when one has it’s head shoved so far up it’s own a%s…

Seven Percent Solution on August 5, 2011 at 2:06 PM

LOL…bayam’s on vacation in Albania again, right?

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Maybe the dems’ favorite Nazi stooge George Soros is holding another seminar, you know, to turn them into ‘seminar callers’, or posters.

slickwillie2001 on August 5, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Dems: “Bush lie and people died”

Obama lied and the economy died.

FIFY

Mangy Scot on August 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM

This chart should be in every RNC TV spot and every conservative campaign or presser from now ’til election day.

Tim_CA on August 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM

But the RNC won’t, because they’re clueless. They keep calling my home to ask for money (lately, it’s about once a week), but when I see their number on the caller ID, I don’t pick up.

Ward Cleaver on August 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Get ready. The market is indicating another slip in the next few hours.

andy85719 on August 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

fail.

The Dems took over in Jan 2007.

In 2004-05 the GOP tried to avert the coming housing crash, but you leftists declared that Fannie and Freddie were in AWESOME shape and that all the concern was just masked racism (isn’t everything?).

Listen to the opening quote from Richard Baker… he tried to warn you leftists, but facts never bother you. You felt good about Fannie and Freddie and that’s all that matters!

mankai on August 5, 2011 at 1:59 PM

I have been following the escapades of Fannie lately. They’re still up to no good.

First of all, from this morning:

Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae said it would ask for an additional $5.1 billion from taxpayers as a weaker housing market causes continued losses on loans made prior to 2009.

The largest U.S. residential mortgage funds provider on Friday also reported a second-quarter net loss attributable to common shareholders of $5.2 billion, or 90 cents per share.

Second, on September 1st Fannie is installing an entire new layer of bureaucratic regulations. This is primarily directed at their real estate appraisal vendors, who will on that date have to change over to a new version of the Fannie Mae residential appraisal forms. Many appraisers will in fact have to spend their own money to take seminars to learn about all of the changes, but so will the underwriters and reviewers in the mortgage industry who aren’t even appraisers.

And last, but certainly not least:

In what could be a repeat of the easy-lending cycle that led to the housing crisis, the Justice Department has asked several banks to relax their mortgage underwriting standards and approve loans for minorities with poor credit as part of a new crackdown on alleged discrimination, according to court documents reviewed by IBD.

-snip-

In several cases, the government has ordered bank defendants to post in all their branches and marketing materials a notice informing minority customers that they cannot be turned down for credit because they receive public aid, such as unemployment benefits, welfare payments or food stamps.

Among other remedies: favorable interest rates and down-payment assistance for minority borrowers with weak credit.

For example, the government has ordered Midwest BankCentre to set aside almost $1 million in “special financing” for residents living in predominantly black areas of St. Louis. The program includes originating conventional home loans at fixed prime rates for African-American borrowers “who would ordinarily not qualify for such rates for reasons including the lack of required credit quality, income or down payment.”

The same federal order, signed last month, praises Midwest for adopting “less stringent underwriting criteria” while under investigation.

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 2:10 PM

OT: Celebration of the Italian bond buy by the EU is dissipating rapidly. Wouldn’t be surprise for markets to close negative on day.

andy85719 on August 5, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 2:10 PM

And when they crash and burn again, it’ll still be Bush’s fault.

Ward Cleaver on August 5, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Being in Los Angeles I can already tell you what the liberal response is to Ed’s point:

The jobs that were lost on Obama’s watch were an effect of Bush’s policies. Obama walked into it.

The truth, as far as I can tell, is that the cause of the crisis (the housing market and the high-risk mortgages that were packaged and sold on Wall St) was going to happen no matter who was in office. The economy needed, and still needs, equilibrium. The stimulus only prolonged the inevitable. I don’t see how we can avoid further contraction. Quantitative easing, and the “need” for it is evidence of that.

Had BO any smarts at all, which he’s obviously too blinded by marxist ideals, he would’ve let the contraction happen unimpeded. It would’ve been worse than what we went through but had he done that we might be in a solid rebound right now. Thanks to all the stupid wasteful intervention, we’re heading into an election year with further contractions on the horizon.

Not a very smart move Mr. President.

hisfrogness on August 5, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Ed, make sure you post this companion chart from Instapundit showing what the deficits did under Copperhead control of Congress. More facts to make liberal heads explode.

SDN on August 5, 2011 at 2:18 PM

OT: Nevermind, pattern didn’t hold. Strange day.

Harry is so disgusting. The labor market shrank by 36,000 and he is touting Obamanomics. Silly.

andy85719 on August 5, 2011 at 2:20 PM

The great depression, which was excruciatingly prolonged by the other new deal, at more than two years this Democrat caused economic downturn is the second longest in our history, left alone we’ve previously rebounded on average in six months.

FDR’s Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau explaining to the House Ways and Means Committee that FDR’s New Deal was a failure.
Morgenthau wrote in 1939, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and now if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.”

Speakup on August 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Great post, Ed. That is very valuable information to have at hand when talking to liberals.

pedestrian on August 5, 2011 at 1:44 PM

You talk to them? Alls I can do is try to shout over them. It’s like being covered in bumper stickers and having them ripped off. Painful.

SouthernGent on August 5, 2011 at 2:29 PM

I’d like to see what that graph looks like going back a few more decades.

Scrappy on August 5, 2011 at 2:44 PM

i see. as soon as democrats took over, they caused a recession and a global financial collapse. smart analysis, ed!

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Yes, we’re not giving the Democrats nearly enough credit. It took years and years of pimping idiotic “social justice” policies (plus the staffing of GSE’s FM/FM with hordes of corrupt Dim cronies like Johnson, Raines, Gorelick, etc.) to bring about the conditions that led to the collapse!

AZCoyote on August 5, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Speakup on August 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Always had trouble sourcing that quote.

And why would he say “eight years of this administration” in 1939? That could be attributed to the man just saying “eight years” instead of “after two terms” but it’s still a little weird.

mankai on August 5, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Ed, you’re first mistake was listening to anything Harry Reid has to say. Thank You! Nevada for saddling the country with this senile old fool.

GarandFan on August 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Facts mean nothing to liberals. Hell, their own words repeated to them mean nothing. It doesn’t feel right.

search4truth on August 5, 2011 at 3:01 PM

To give you perspective on how bad it still is out there….I refer you to the today’s opinion page in the OC Register; This is a letter from someone who is offended by Mallard Filmore comic strip;

“President Obama is well-education, inteligent and represents the best and brightest that this country has produced. While many Republicans would like to credit him for our predicament with the economy, it must be clearly stated that the scalawag President George Bush is repsonsible. Bush’s eight years of poor leaderhip and statesmanship will not easily be reversed.

Obama is our president and must be respected. He was elected by the majority in this counrty. The president has risen to the highest office in the land not because of who his father was, but because he earned it.”

Depressing

Ditkaca on August 5, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 5, 2011 at 2:10 PM

“Among other remedies: favorable interest rates and down-payment assistance for minority borrowers with weak credit.”

Wow, that is the most upside down lending logic I have ever heard! I always thought poor credit meant higher interest rates and larger down payments – silly me! I guess I should go out and ruin my credit if I want to get the best terms on a loan. “sigh

Ann on August 5, 2011 at 3:34 PM

sesquipedalian

what a great tool.

Red State State of Mind on August 5, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Del: What is the source (link?) of the lastest Fannie/Freddie boondoggle you posted at 2:10pm?

Take a look at this post by Stanley Kurtz today, and add your comment to it.
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/273776/obamas-two-financial-crises-stanley-kurtz

onlineanalyst on August 5, 2011 at 3:55 PM

The welfare and unemployment pimp will blame his wife and kids to get reelected.

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2011 at 4:01 PM

also, too, if we hold congress responsible for unemployment figures, then wtf are the jobs, speaker boehner?

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:42 PM

I also hold the liberal congress, both sides, after 2006, responsible, you inept tool.

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2011 at 4:02 PM

To the choking of sesquipedalian, and his cohort, Obama resurrected the presidencies of Carter and GWB. Explode on this historical fact.

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Thank you for posting this chart, Ed!

I’ve started printing out charts like this and putting them in a notebook that I carry around with me, so I can have the facts & pictures handy when I get into political conversations with local liberals.

Since I live in a deep blue bastion of liberalism, the opportunity to have these conversations happens a lot.

Now I am prepared to fix one liberal at a time with individual remedial education that includes pictures.

wren on August 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Note to Ed:

Bush only had influence on the economy and job creation until Jan. 2007, when the Democrats took control of the Congress. It must be remembered the Senate passed Continuing Resolutions for 2 years to play keep-away from George Bush. So trying to claim that Bush had even marginal responsibility for the job losses that began in 2008, as Reid underhandedly did here, is nonsensical.

I would also point out that unlike the Democrats in Congress, who kept insisting things at Fannie and Freddie were going just awesome, Bush WARNED REPEATEDLY that steps had to be taken to avoid a housing collapse. He was ignored.

Of course, he could have TAKEN ACTION and done more than just try to call attention to the problem by talking about it every now and then and putting out a press release discussing the looming threat – something for which he does share part of the blame in my book. If you see a threat of that magnitude coming, how in the world do you content yourself with MENTIONING it several times a year, like you’re kind of embarrassed to have to keep reminding everybody?

manofaiki on August 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM

i see. as soon as democrats took over, they caused a recession and a global financial collapse. smart analysis, ed!

sesquipedalian on August 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Yes. It started with Carter. Tapered off during the Reagan and Bush years, then Clinton, til Bush 2, and now we have Obama. Read the history. It’s hard to swallow I’m sure, and I know you turn a blind eye to it…but they are the facts.

That’s not to say Republicans didn’t do their part in messing things up….but Dems have done a lot of damage to this country over all.

If you’re truly concerned about your country…you’d look at the cold hard facts, and vote accordingly. For your country…not your party.

capejasmine on August 5, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Now I am prepared to fix one liberal at a time

wren on August 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Good luck with that. Imma go plant unicorn seeds myself.

Lanceman on August 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM

This week a Florida Democratic representative, Corrine Brown

Quoting corrine is almost as bad as cruelty to animals. I’ve had up close observations of her and she is borderline retarded. Her district snakes from North Florida all the way down to Orlando through every black neighborhood. She is unbeatable in her gerrymandered district but I guarantee you people who have voted time and again for her probably wouldn’t recognize her if she knocked on their door with her name tattooed on her forehead. They are democrat pawns who vote for who they are told to vote for. Some day she will become too much of an embarrassment or someone the party machine thinks has more longterm potential will come along and they will just switch them out and the new candidate will get the same percentage corrine always gets.

peacenprosperity on August 5, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Can you imagine what it would be like if we had a free press in this country? Why everyone would know those facts and Harry Reid wouldn’t even think about lying like that. Alas, all we have is talk radio, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and some places on the internet and the Democrats have their media wing lying for them, either directly or by omission.

If the Democrats had to worry about the press, they wouldn’t have a seat in Congress or the Presidency.

Vote Republican and only be called a racist one more time.

bflat879 on August 5, 2011 at 7:54 PM

This is the Nth time I’ve seen a setting-straight-of-the-record. You can keep repeating facts until you’re purple in the face, it won’t keep the rent-seekers and marginal personages from spouting their endless stream of Debbie Wasserman-Schultzisms.

curved space on August 5, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Once again proving

“There is nothing more horrible than the murder
of beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts.”

– LaRochefoucauld François duc de, 1613-1680

DSchoen on August 6, 2011 at 4:10 AM