The Republic of T.

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Not As They Do: Conservatives and Deficits, Pt. 1

Listening to conservatives squawk about deficits is a bit like taking parenting and/or relationship advice from Medea, the Gosselins or “Octomom.” At best, they serve as an example of what not to do.

As it is with children, so it is with conservatives and deficits. People who are very good at making them aren’t necessarily all that skilled in dealing with them.

And we know, during the previous decade, conservatives proved themselves quite adept at creating a deficit from a surplus.

But that doesn’t stop them from trying, and it doesn’t stop people — even those who should know better — from listening to their advice. Even the president is not immune. Whether you think the president’s proposed three-year freeze non-military discretional spending is a good idea, a bad idea, or essentially meaningless — a hatchet or a scalpel — it signals a certain degree of that the rhetoric of the deficit hysterics has been effective, both in pinning the blame for the deficit on the current president, and diverting discussion from long-term deficit solutions.

Despite what conservatives would have you believe, the current economic downturn began before Barack Obama was elected president, just as the deregulation that led to the downturn and the deficit — which is actually a symptom of the downturn, and not its cause — were well underway by July 27, 2004, 11:09 PM, the world a relatively unknown legislator from Illinois introduced himself to the world.

Even a cursory glance at the facts makes it clear, the deficit that has conservatives so alarmed was created on their watch.

Uh-Oh! Conservatives turned a budget surplus we had then into the deficit we have now. It’s true. Even the Wall Street Journal had to acknowledge that the perhaps the biggest legacy of the Bush years is the huge deficit.

In other words, the deficit didn’t just happen, and it didn’t have to happen. It was the predicted outcome of conservative policy decisions.


But a cursory glance clearly won’t do, with deficit fever rising to the the level of of a “National Security Threat,” (according to the Wall Street Journal).

Conservatives seem to take a “Do as we say, not as we do” approach to deficits. With so much riding on how we respond to this crisis, and how much we invest in long-term economic security and stability for all of us, it’s worth taking a deeper look at what conservatives has done to create the deficit that is now, suddenly, their biggest concern.

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