Now that this election year is in full swing, we keep hearing a lot of “pseudo-facts” being tossed about “like Godzilla with a railroad car” (h/t to TV’s Dan Castinella for the metaphor.) Bush’s former economic adviser Mitch Daniels had the gall to (falsely) claim “Ronald Reagan inherited a bigger economic mess than President Obama did” and yet turned things around faster (bull), Sarah Palin tried to blame President Obama for last weeks’ Secret Service and GSA debacles while WaPo columnist EJ Dione pointed out on “Meet the Press” that similar misconduct by the Secret Service was reported back in 2002 under President Bush, and walking-conspiracy-theory Michele Bachmann showed immense “choot-spa” in an interview last Thursday claiming that the President never accepts blame for anything, “It’s always everyone else’s fault.” This from a Party that… when it controlled all three Houses from 2001 thru 2006, blamed everything on 9/11 and Bill Clinton until Democrats retook control in 2007, at which point they blamed the Democrats for everything (even blaming Clinton for the Wall Street meltdown… yes, I know the link is Australian). Republicans were swept into office in 2010 promising “jobs, jobs, jobs”, yet today, they are blaming President Obama for anemic job growth without a hint of responsibility. How does one simultaneously make the case that the poor economy is all the president’s fault while accepting none of the blame yourself, AND THEN accuse the president of not accepting responsibility for anything? Sometimes, all it takes are a few hard numbers to put things in perspective:
$347 Billion: The annual Federal Deficit when President Clinton took office in 1992.
$18 Billion: The annual Federal Deficit just months before President Clinton left office in 2001.
$421 Billion: The annual Federal Deficit just two years later after The Bush Tax Cuts. (Yes, that’s a 23x increase.)
$1 Trillion: ($1,017,071) The annual Federal Deficit Bush’s final full year in office (2008). 55 TIMES the Deficit he inherited from Clinton.
$1.9 Trillion: ($1,885,104) The annual Federal Deficit by the end of Bush’s last budget, October 2009.
$1.65 Trillion: Obama’s first budget deficit (2010).
$1.23 Trillion: The budget deficit last year (2011).
5.9%: Unemployment at the time of the Iranian Hostage crisis (Nov, 1979)
7.2%: Unemployment by the end of Carter’s term in office, a 1.2% increase his final year (and still lower than when he entered office: 7.4%).
8.5%: Unemployment by the end of Reagan’s first year in office (1981)
10.8%: Unemployment by the end of Reagan’s second year in office (Nov & Dec, 1982). Was still over 9.2% nine months later (following massive Federal hiring).
7.4%: Unemployment the month before the 1984 November election (falling to 5.3% when he left office.)
(skipping ahead to the Clinton presidency…)
7.4%: Unemployment When George HW Bush left office in 1993.
3.9%: Unemployment when Clinton left office in 2001. (Republicans credit GOP Congress for this.)
George W. Bush…
6.3%: Unemployment by June, 2003. (SAME GOP Congress.)
4.9%: Unemployment in February of 2008 (after Democrats retake control in Jan 2007.)
7.8%: Unemployment just 11 months later (Jan, 2009). (a 2.9% increase in just 11 months following Wall Street crisis.)
10.0%: Unemployment peaks with end of last Bush budget in Oct, 2009.
8.2%: Unemployment today (March 2012).
$14.87: Price per barrel (PPB) Reagan’s final year in office (1988).
$19.25: PPB George HW Bush’s final year in office (1992).
$27.39: PPB during the 2000 energy crisis (when Candidate Bush said he’d tell the Saudi’s to “open up the spigots.”)
$27.36: PPB AFTER 9/11 (Sept 30, 2001).
$36: PPB the day of the Iraq invasion (March 19, 2003).
$64.21: PPB the day Democrats retook control of Congress (an increase of nearly 200% in three years.)
$147: Record price of oil set in July 2008.
$53.48: PPB following the economic collapse on Wall Street (Sept, 2008).
(Note: Republicans blame Democrats for oil hitting $147 in July, but don’t “credit” them for gas falling to $1.84/gal six months later. Odd.)
$81: PPB the last month Democrats are in charge of Congress (Dec, 2010).
$108: PPB peak last March.
$1.42: Average Price Per Gallon (APG) when Clinton takes office in 1993.
$1.34: APG by 1999.
$1.70: APG during the 2000 campaign.
$1.61: APG after Bush’s first year in office.
$1.52: APG after 9/11 (Sept 13, 2001)
$1.69: APG the year of the Iraq invasion (2003).
$1.94: APG 2004 (gas breaks the $2/gal mark for the first time in history.)
$3.07: APG September, 2005 (more than a year before Democrats retake control of Congress), breaking the $3 barrier for the first time.
$4.11: APG record peak after oil hits record high of $147 in July 2008.
$1.84: APG the day President Obama took office (56% decline in just six months. Slightly more than the plunge in oil prices during that same period.)
(Oil & Gas resume their climb as economy recovers…)
$2.95: APG the last month Democrats control Congress (Dec, 2010)
$3.90: APG one month ago (March, 2012). Price of oil that same week: $108. Price of oil the last time gas hit $3.90/gal: $128.85 in May, 2008).
As you can see from these numbers: The Deficit, unemployment, oil prices and gas prices, all surged more under GOP control than they did under Democratic control. And once key barriers were broken (like the $2/$3/$4 thresholds for gasoline), oil did not have to reach the same meteoric heights to get back up there again, lending credence to the theory that “Speculation” has more to do with gas prices than “supply”. Despite what Indiana governor Mitch Daniels would have us believe, President Obama had a MUCH steeper hole to climb out of (dug in part by Daniels himself as Bush’s first Budget Director) than Reagan did after succeeding Carter (and it took Reagan FAR LONGER as well.)
These are the facts, Ma’am. Spin away, but they don’t change for anyone. Especially not The GOP.
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