The “Viewpoint” Number of the Day is $5.6 trillion — the surplus the Congressional Budget Office predicted the country would accumulate between 2002 and 2011 if policies that were in effect at the beginning of the decade had been left in place.
But instead of a surplus, there was a cumulative deficit of $6.1 trillion over that 10-year period, according to the CBO’s recent report. And while Republicans blame President Obama for the deficit, the CBO’s handy chart shows that tax cuts enacted by President Bush between 2002 and 2008 increased the national debt by $1.6 trillion. The country continued to lose money from these tax cuts during the Obama administration, since the president extended the cuts.
Bruce Bartlett summarized the CBO’s report in an article for The New York Times, writing, “Republicans continue to insist that tax cuts are highly stimulative, often saying that they add nothing to the debt, when this is obviously ridiculous.” Bartlett has worked for both the Reagan and the George H. W. Bush administrations.
Eliot Spitzer points to the hypocrisy of the Republican anti-deficit agenda, given the role tax cuts — not to mention two costly wars spearheaded by a Republican president — played in creating the deficit in the first place. “Republicans want to dress up like deficit slayers,” Spitzer notes. “And how are they going to do it? More tax cuts. Go figure. When it doesn’t work the first time, do it again.”