Tag Archives: George W. Bush

United States blamed for unrest in Yemen. What happened to hope and change?

One of the main attractions of Barack Obama was that he would restore our creditability around the world after George W. Bush lost it all. How is that working out?

Yemeni president says US and Israel behind unrest

By AHMED AL-HAJ
Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s embattled U.S.-backed president accused Washington on Tuesday of instigating protests against his regime, as hundreds of thousands marched in cities across Yemen in the largest rallies yet seeking the longtime ruler’s ouster.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s allegations, unprecedented in their harshness, signaled a growing rift with the United States that could hurt a joint campaign against the al-Qaida terror network in Yemen.

Stories continues…

To blame the United States for the protests is certainly to give our President too much credit. And to think that Obama would restore American likability around the world by making speeches was surely the height of naivety and hubris.

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Bush got things done, Obama takes credit for doing nothing.

Regardless of your opinion of President George W. Bush, there is no denying that he knew how to get things done. Unfortunately for him, much of what he did was vilified by the media. The Bush tax cuts, for instance, were portrayed as “tax cuts for the rich” even though the rich’s share of the tax burden rose and the tax cuts helped spur economic growth. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, Bush “got no respect.”

Along comes President Barack Obama. As candidate and President, Obama attacked the “tax cuts for the rich” that Bush gave out. But then, suddenly, President Obama compromises with the Republicans and extends the Bush tax cuts. CNN, who heeped no praise on Bush for his tax cuts, is now praising Obama for extending the tax cuts:

Most Americans like the new tax cut law that President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that while the tax cut compromise the president struck with congressional Republicans didn’t spark Obama’s overall approval rating, it may have given him a boost as “Triangulator in Chief.”

The poll also indicates that 55 percent of the public thinks Obama’s policies will move the country in the right direction, with just over four in ten saying the president’s policies will move the nation in the wrong direction. Obama’s 55 percent is 11 points higher than the 44 percent who say the policies of congressional Republican leaders will move the country in the right direction. Americans are split at 48 percent on whether what congressional Democrats are proposing will move the country along the right path.

“Since the GOP just picked up 63 seats in the House, what’s not to like about their policies? The tax bill may be a good place to start,” says Holland.

According to the poll, 56 percent of the public say that the bill does too much for wealthy Americans and six in ten don’t like extending the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 or the changes in the estate tax. And less than one in four believe that their personal situation will improve as a result of the tax bill. Only four in ten favor an increase in the federal deficit to pay for tax cut compromise.

But despite those figures, three-quarters of all Americans approve of the tax bill overall, including the extension of jobless benefits for the long term unemployed.

If you are keeping score at home:

  • President Bush and the Republicans were wrong to pass the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
  • President Obama was right to extend them in 2010.
  • Republicans were wrong to extend them in 2010.

Should we return to the Clinton years? Hell yes!

I often hear from those on the left about how much better the Clinton years were than the Bush years and today. Well, let’s compare the size of government during the Clinton years (1993-2000) to the Bush years and today.

First, my favorite chart again to get a general idea of where we are now versus the Clinton years. Clearly, government spending is much higher now:

Total government spending (federal, state, and local) during the Clinton years averaged 34.3% of GDP. During the Bush years, it averaged 35.0%. During the fiscal year just completed (2010) it was 43.9%. Are those on the left really arguing for a 9.6 percentage point reduction in government spending? And what 21.9% (9.6 divided by 43.9) of government will the cut?

Let’s look at the tax side of the equation. Total government revenue (federal, state, and local) averaged 35.2% of GDP during the Clinton years. It was 34.4% during the Bush years. Today (FY 2010), due to the recession, it stands at 30.4%.

What is remarkable is the similarity between the Clinton years and the Bush years, on average. The Bush years saw total government spending 0.7 percentage points higher than during the Clinton years, but total government revenue 0.8 percentage points lower. However, not all this credit and/or blame can be assigned to these Presidents or even to the Congresses because these figures include state and local government, as well. On the balance though, these periods were remarkably similar.

Another interesting factor is that government spending fell 4.5 percentage points during the Clinton years, yet rose 4.4 percentage during the Bush years. Government revenue saw the reverse, up 3.9 percentage points under Clinton but down 4.2 percentage points under Bush. Much of this is simply the result of economic cycles. Clinton started after a recession and ended with a bubble. Bush started with that bubble and ended with a recession.

But the most notable thing is what is occurring today. Under President Obama, government spending as a percentage of GDP has risen 6.9 points while revenue has fallen 2.6 point. Again, President Obama and Congress cannot take all the credit/blame because most of this change has been due to the recession. However, government spending has risen more under Barack Obama in just two years than it did under Bush in eight. In fact, government spending as a percentage of GDP in 2009 alone rose more than it had in the previous 36 years. During the previous recession (2000-2003), total government spending rose 2.7 percentage points and we recovered from that recession just fine. In this recession (2007-2010 so far), government spending as a percentage of GDP has risen 8.9 points and the recession continues.

All this raises a few questions:

  • What have we to show for this 8.9 percentage point increase in the size of government?
  • Do the liberals really want to return to the Clinton day? Are the liberals willing to reduce government spending by 21.9% (9.6% of GDP)?
  • Will conservatives trade a tax increase equal to 4.8% of GDP in exchange for cuts to government equal to 9.6%?

As for me, I’d gladly trade the tax increase for smaller government because we are already paying for the tax increase. To fund our budget deficit, government is issuing debt and printing money. Instead of charging us taxes, they are devaluing the Dollar. Instead of paying for our large government through taxation, we are paying for it with reduced value of our wealth and increasing foreign ownership of our country. Therefore, taxes are much less important than government spending. So yes, I’d certainly support an increase in taxes equivalent to 4.8% of GDP IF AND ONLY IF we reduce government spending by 9.6%, returning us to those much hallowed days of the Clinton Presidency and Contract With America Congress.

* This does not reflect my opinion of Clinton as a person or his policies. Likewise, much of the above talk of “Clinton years” was the result of general economic trends and the Republican Congress. As always, I am a firm believer that history moves in trends and our leaders reflect those trends. (See my book, The Path to Tyranny. Additionally, I plan to write an entire book on this subject in the future.)