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Friday, August 14, 2009

Conservative Declares President Obama Among "Greatest Tax Cutters in History"

Some of my best sources are Republicans....

More props to Adam Feser, the half of Aberdeen's Red, Blue & Purple who actually reads things to back hup his blog posts. Mr. Feser points us toward "The GOP's Misplaced Rage," a remarkable Daily Beast essay by conservative Bruce Bartlett. Mr. Bartlett did little things like develop supply-side economics and work for Presidents Reagan and Bush pére (and farther back, Ron Paul!). He earned a spot in the GOP doghouse by calling President Bush fils a Nixonian "pretend conservative" and saying the Bush-Cheney White House displayed "an anti-intellectual distrust of facts and analysis."

Bartlett guarantees more time in that doghouse by skewering the GOP socialism-criers with these facts and analysis:

According to the CBO, federal taxes will amount to just 15.5 percent of GDP this year. That’s 2.2 percent of GDP less than last year, 3.3 percent less than in 2007, and 1.8 percent less than the lowest percentage recorded during the Reagan years. If conservatives really believe their own rhetoric, they should be congratulating Obama for being one of the greatest tax cutters in history [Bruce Bartlett, "The GOP's Misplaced Rage," The Daily Beast, 2009.08.12].

Bartlett also sees the clear hypocrisy of the GOP suddenly rediscovering budget discipline:

In my opinion, conservative activists, who seem to believe that the louder they shout the more correct their beliefs must be, are less angry about Obama’s policies than they are about having lost the White House in 2008. They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies. If that were the case they would have been out demonstrating against the Medicare drug benefit, the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, and all the pork-barrel spending that Bush refused to veto [Bartlett, 2009.08.12].

Bartlett also makes a very clear case that both the current deficit and the recession are primarily George W. Bush's fault. Read especially Bartlett's discussion of the recession's origins and his comparison of the performance of the economy under Clinton and Bush.

So if you want to vent your rage in a futile display of patriotic fantasy, go yell at President Bush... and let President Obama keep cleaning up Bush's mess.

Bonus link! Bartlett is also well-known (and reviled by Neil Boortz sheep) for linking the "Fair Tax" with Scientology.


  1. good article, cory. i agree with almost all of it. and i'm sure most true conservatives would, too. party hacks will hate it, as you suggest.

    but it hardly helps your side in this debate. the obama line is more a comment about how bad bush was.

    in fact, his whole article is really about how bush wasn't conservative enough. and he never expresses any support for obama's policies.

    yours is a pretty disingenous post, if you ask me.

    -- Rob Regier

  2. Oh, Rob, I'm being perfectly... ingenuous(?). And the post still supports Obama, noting that we'll pay less taxes under him than under Bush or Reagan. Barack Obama: the conservative's conservative?

  3. It ain't over yet. Let's see what our tax system is like in seven years (assuming that Barack Obama is reelected).

    I got a big tax rebate last May. That surprised me. So far, so good ...

  4. methinks you be confused, good man. if you believe what bartlett is saying, you must be furious with obama for not taxing people more.

    besides, exactly what taxes has obama cut?

    as i said, i think bartlett is mostly right about bush. he was not a true supply-sider and free-marketer, which is partly why we're in this mess. had he been, there'd be no obama today. i applaud bartlett's take. right on.

  5. Again, no confusion, Rob. Bartlett is saying that all those folks raging about the tyranny of Obama and taxes aren't paying attention to reality. The CBO numbers say that, even when you figure in a shrinking GDP, the tax cuts and credits that made up a third of the stimulus package will translate into a smaller share of the national wealth going to Uncle Sam than Reagan managed at his best (assuming you equate "best" with "low taxes").

    It is good to see we agree with Bartlett on Bush.

  6. "Bartlett also makes a very clear case that both the current deficit and the recession are primarily George W. Bush's fault."

    I agree, but that blame game is green with mold.

    Barack Obama is our president now. He has taken on the resposibility of getting us out of the recession. I think he may well have averted a full-blown depression in the first half of 2009.

    But he still has to deal with the rest of 2009, and all of 2010, and all of 2011, and all of 2012 -- at least.

    Economic eons loom ...

    Bruce Bartlett advocates a value-added tax for the USA (on top of all the existing taxes). That fact alone makes me take out the salt shaker whenever I hear or see his name.

  7. Stan, I agree that the blame game gets old. However, in this case, understanding that Bush and not Obama is responsible for our troubles is important to public discourse. Bartlett's point is that we have a lot of folks running around in a rage at President Obama, They use their belief that Obama is wrecking the country to justify busting up town hall meetings, packing heat when the President comes to town, and other uncivil behavior. Perhaps the extremists are beyond reason, but it is important to establish that the basis of this rage is false.


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