How Bush Administration Policies Caused the U.S. Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Deficit
The New York Times has released a tool on its website which shows how different budget cuts and tax increases will effect the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget. As its title states, it basically lets you balance the budget.
Not surprisingly, if you remove the Bush-era tax cuts on income and inheritance, wind down the war in Afghanistan and Iraq to 30,000 troops deployed, and reduce the military to the pre-Iraq war size you have solved 87% of the 2015 budget shortfall, and 46% of the 2030 Budget shortfall. This should come to no surprise to those remember the Clinton years. After all, whether or not you like him, Clinton left president George Bush Jr. with a budget surplus.
Regardless of policy discussions over whether or not the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were necessary, it seems reasonable that the Bush administration’s two biggest policy initiatives: tax cuts and two wars would lead to a budget deficit. Interestingly enough spending on the two wars and the tax cuts were passed under Bush in such a way that they did not appear on the budget. The wars were largely funded through supplemental budgets, keeping them off the official balance sheets, while the tax cuts “temporary” status allowed them to evade Ronald Reagan’s Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act which required tax cuts be offset by spending cuts. In the long-term there is certainly a problem with the U.S. budget, however in the short-term with the economy in shambles it seems bizarre that many are calling for Obama to cut spending because of a budget shortfall handed to him by the previous administration’s spending spree. At the least, it is hypocritical for “tea-party” type conservatives to decry the annual deficit when 87% of it comes from policies they likely supported.