Thursday, September 06, 2012


Doing the Arithmetic Bill Clinton Won't Do

Here is a transcript of former President Clinton's long but generally interesting speech at the Democratic Convention last night. He talked about the Republicans living in an alternative universe. Funny, those are just the words Anderson Cooper applied to DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz lying about the botched, three-times-the-charm vote to add back in God and Jerusalem to the Democrat's party platform. (Who took them out in the first place?) That's the place I generally think too many Democrat thinkers inhabit. See here. Then Big Dog Bill talked about arithmetic. In Arkansas, he said, where he was a country boy (he just cannot stop lying), people thought two plus two was four. Tough to fault the Arkansas citizens' high skill at math. He said then:

 President Obama's plan cuts the debt, honors our values, brightens the future of our children, our families, and our nation. It's a heck of a lot better. It passes the arithmetic test and, far more important, it passes the values test.
What plan? His not-one-person-voted-for-it budget? Cuts the debt; are you freakin' kidding me? Passes the arithmetic test? But Bill Clinton had already said the following, to put it all in perspective regarding Republicans governing:

... they'll just explode the debt and weaken the economy, and they'll destroy the federal government's ability to help you by letting interest gobble up all your tax payments.
   Don't you ever forget, when you hear them talking about this, that Republican economic policies quadrupled the national debt before I took office, in the 12 years before I took office and doubled the debt in the eight years after I left, because it defied arithmetic.
OK. He's right about the danger of piling on too much debt, although the warning is a tad late. When interest rates rise, our incredible federal debt will metaphorically gobble us all up.

But what about the quadrupling and doubling? Well, right again. But first a caveat. The House starts all spending bills and the House and Senate pass all tax bills. During the past 32 years, the times when the House, Senate and Presidency are all controlled by one party were rare and fleeting. So it's not fair to blame the President for overspending which the Democrat controlled House and Senate pass. Nor is it fair to give him credit for what the better budgets the Republican controlled House and Senate accomplish. After all, the President is doing little but signing the bills. That said, however, let's pretend, along with Bill Clinton, that Republican economic policies are in full sway while Republicans are President and Democratic economic policies are in full control while Democrats are President.

When Ronald Reagan became President, the national debt was roughly S1.14 Trillion. By the time the first President Bush ended his only term, 12 years later, the national debt was about $4.41 Trillion. That's just short of quadrupling, but close enough for government work. But what then was the average deficit spending during the 12 years of Reagan/Bush presidencies? Well, if my math is as good as an Arkansas country boy's, the deficit spending averages about $275 Billion/yr. That ain't so good.

How about for Clinton? He started with about $4.41 Trillion and ended with about $5.81 Trillion. That's roughly $173 Billion/yr of average deficit spending. That's better, but it's still deficit spending.

The second President Bush started with about $5.81 Trillion and ended with roughly $10.43 Trillion. That is not really a doubling but why quibble and it averages out to roughly $655 Billion/yr. That's pretty bad.

But what has President Obama done? Well, the national debt is now approaching $16 Trillion and it's not a full four years. He's only increased it by about $5 Trillion which is no doubling or quadrupling, but it is overspending at about $1.25 Trillion/yr. That is more deficit spending per year under President Obama than the 200 plus years of accumulated federal debt when President Reagan took office. That's amazingly bad.

Country boy arithmetic is enlightening, isn't it? Bill Clinton is too smart actually to go through the numbers as I just have. He's trying to help Obama get re-elected.


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