The so-called teabaggers and wing nuts claim their attacks on President Obama aren’t the result of racism or ideology. They say their demonstrations are about the national debt which they believe has increased to staggering new levels under the Obama administration.
There are three flaws with their argument. One is that the debt only really matters if we plan on selling our nation sometime soon. Otherwise, it’s merely a number. Second, while it’s true that the debt has reached an all time high in actual dollar amount, as a percent of GDP (gross domestic product) it has been higher before. And third, very little of the current debt can be attributed to actions by President Obama.
Following the Great Depression and WWII, the national debt as a percent of GDP stood at 120 percent. It steadily decreased each year until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Under Reagan the administration so overspent on military weapons that the national debt nearly tripled. The debt continued to increase during the George H.W. Bush administration. When Bill Clinton was elected President in 1992, he prioritized the economy and succeeded in significantly reducing the debt. Then, under George W. Bush, the debt nearly doubled again until, by the time he left office, it had risen back to 80 percent of GDP. (One has to wonder where the tea parties and town halls were then.)
In reality, the recent increase in our national debt is the result of two wars begun by the Bush administration (one based on false information) that have cost more than $2 trillion – a figure that doesnt even include the cost of health care, disability compensation and death benefits for those who have served in these wars. Contributing to the increase was the creation of the massive Homeland Security department by the Bush administration. And, of course, the primary cause was Republican-led deregulation of banks and commodities resulting in runaway greed and wild speculation. When the banks risky investments failed, the Federal Government was faced with a decision of bailing out those responsible for this mess. Or letting the nation slide into a 2nd Great Depression.
By the time of his inauguration, President Obama was facing the worst economy since Herbert Hoover. And, like FDR, he has little choice but to try to create jobs through stimulus funds and loans. Yet, despite having created this mess, Republicans have fought Obama at every opportunity. Not a single Republican in the House voted for the stimulus package and all but three Republicans in the Senate voted against it.
It appears they would rather make some sort of political statement than uphold their commitment to serve our nation.
Republicans have also tried to block health care reform and the proposed cap on carbon dioxide emissions intended to head off more severe climate change. (They wouldnt want to interfere with the profits of our large corporations, would they?)
Perhaps the most absurd attack on President Obama is his trip to promote Chicago as host of the Olympics. They claim that he should be spending more time in the Oval Office. Hmmm, I wonder what they thought of Bushs vacations while in office. The final statistics show that W spent 977 days (33 percent) of his two terms on vacation, including the days immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
In my opinion, everyone needs to be more patient with this president. Republican presidents had nearly 30 years to get us into this mess. Lets give President Obama more than 9 months to get us out of it.