My daily commute home from work has become somewhat predictable: muddle through the employee parking lot; wait my turn to get to the main entrance; bee-line my way to I-75; get off the freeway at Breese Road and trudge my way home; and somewhere in the middle of those steps (early on in the process) turn on talk radio.
It is a ritual to which my dad could relate if he were still with us. Pardon me for a moment as I lament how old that last sentence makes me feel for having typed it.
As you likely guessed, tuning into talk radio after 3 o’clock would mean listening to conservative Republican commentator Sean Hannity – who just so happens has been dedicating more and more time as of late to rebutting Libertarianism (but that’s another topic for a later date).
From time to time Hannity brings up and discusses valid points that warrant analysis when he’s hammering at America’s institutional left. But, I find his call-in segments difficult to listen-to most times as they too frequently consist either of listeners singing his praises or trying to throw at him poorly thought-out progressive liberal arguments that soon degenerate into “you just hate poor/black/Hispanic/Muslim/gay people.”
His other annoying trait is his insistence upon serving as America’s leading Bush apologist. On Thursday, Hannity reached a new low in that department.
At just about 3:45 he patched-in a call from someone who rightly pointed out that during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration our country’s national debt ballooned from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion. What Hannity said next made my eyes bug. “No, no, no, that’s not the real number here,” he countered, following that by reminding the caller as well as the audience of the Democratic Party’s mind boggling $1.56 trillion deficit for fiscal year 2010.
In comparison, Hannity added, the largest deficit under Bush was only $458 billion. Only $458 billion?
I’m sorry, but all of those figures are the real numbers in the discussion of America being led to financial ruin.
First of all, it was the Republican Party’s reckless, Democrat-esque spending from 2001 through 2006 that opened the door for the other major party to thrust us frighteningly deeper into the mess in which our county now wallows. In 2000, Republicans charged that during the Clinton years it was their fiscal responsibility while holding the majority in both houses of Congress that led to an eventual federal surplus of $122 billion that year. Undoubtedly, it was the political jousting and wrangling between a Democrat White House and Republican Congress which contributed to a brief departure from deficit spending in the late ‘90s.
Here’s the rub before I continue: federal spending still increased during that time.
Still, that surplus served as the foundation for their push to reclaim the White House. “If we can get this accomplished with a Democratic president, just imagine how perfect everything will be when we also have a Republican administration to work with us,” they insisted.
To state the obvious, the results speak for themselves. I hate to break it to you, Sean, but the additional $4.9 trillion of debt your boys heaped on the backs of us taxpayers is a very real number.
Let’s break that down a little further. Annual spending on the Global War on Terror amounts to approximately $150 billion. The operative question now becomes on what did the Republicans spend the remaining $300+ billion by the time they were done?
The answer is Pork – Right Wing Pork.
I also want to counter the assertion of what constituted Bush’s largest deficit. If we consider the fact that Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program into law on October 3, 2008 (and thus include that with what was spent for fiscal year 2009), I contend his largest deficit as president looks much more damning when you add on top of $458 billion the additional $700 billion for T.A.R.P.
All of a sudden we see that Bush sent America over $1.1 trillion into the red as his curtain call.
If I’ve gotten any of that last part wrong, I honestly encourage anyone who reads this to show me where I went awry.
Without eight years of Republican irresponsibility and incompetence, there is no Obama Administration. It’s as simple as that. To suggest one party is somehow less responsible than the other for our country standing on the brink of financial ruin is as dishonest as Tim Geithner’s track record with TurboTax.
Mr. Hannity, you fail.