Bloomberg: “Republican Leaders Voted for Debt Drivers They Blame on Obama”

What do you know, some journalists actually do their job:

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Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry.
Together, a Bloomberg News analysis shows, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion.

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The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost almost $1.3 trillion since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a March 29 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. Operations in Iraq have cost $806 billion, and in Afghanistan $444 billion. The analysis shows the government has spent an additional $29 billion for enhanced security on militia bases and $6 billion remains unallocated.
Medicare Drug Benefit
The 2003 Medicare prescription program approved by President George W. Bush and a Republican-dominated Congress has cost $369 billion over a 10-year time frame, less than initially projected by Medicare actuaries.
Nine Senate Republicans, including Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel, along with 25 Republicans in the House, voted against the bill. Hagel argued that it failed to control costs and would add trillions in debt for future generations.
“Republicans used to believe in fiscal responsibility,” Hagel wrote in a 2003 editorial in the Omaha World Herald. “We have lost our way.”
TARP, the $700-billion bailout of banks, insurance and auto companies, has cost less than expected. McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and Ryan all voted in October 2008 for the program, which stoked the rise of the Tea Party movement.
Many institutions have repaid the government. The latest estimated lifetime cost of the program is $49.33 billion, according to a June 2011 report by the Treasury Department. That figure includes the $45.61 billion cost of a housing program which the administration never expected to recoup.
Rank-and-file Republicans are eager to pin the blame on Democrats, frequently pointing to the economic stimulus signed by Obama in 2009. The total cost of the stimulus will be $830 billion by 2019, according to a May 2011 Congressional Budget Office report.
That’s half the cost of the Bush tax cuts and less than two-thirds of what has been spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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PBO and VPB visited the Norwegian embassy on Tuesday to pay respects in wake of deadly terror attacks in Oslo.

“Obama Put Out the Call, And They Answered”

David Weigel:

The only real news in President Obama’s speech last night seemed to be his call for Americans to contact their members of Congress and demand that they compromise. On Twitter, I asked if anyone was actually doing this. I got around 75 responses within an hour. Here’s a sample.

Pat from Kansas sent this to Rep. Kevin Yoder:

I fully support the president on this. Boehner is out to lunch. He made a business analogy. Not even close. Government is NOT business. Government REQUIRES compromise to be successful. Please do not be an obstructionist. Please do your job and make government work.

Rich from Ohio sent this to Rep. Steven LaTourette:

I’m a political moderate, of decent means, living in Hudson. I think I speak for many like me. I’ve listened to both sides this evening and President’s Obama’s approach is the one I clearly prefer. My reasons:
1) Chance for historic tax rate reduction and elimination of loopholes.
2) Includes reasonable cutbacks in entitlements.
3) Includes reasonable cutbacks in defense.
4) Gives the wealthy tax rates that are still lower than 50 years ago! The vast majority of the American people favor this; after all, it is only fair.
5) Repays a debt that we have already incurred. THE MONEY HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT; we must now pay it back.
6) Prevents this entire standoff from happening again in 6-12 months. I don’t want to see precious legislative time used to re-hash this same debate in six months.
This is a chance to do something historic and positive. Let’s not miss this opportunity, especially when the alternative sends the USA back into recession. THAT’s the real job killer.
While Speaker Boehner wants to compromise with the President, it is clear that he is being handcuffed by a handful of reckless Tea Party members who are willing to take this country into recession just to make a point. If that happens, virtually no one currently in office, Democrat or Republican, gets reelected in 2012. Please help these misinformed Representatives to understand what is a stake.
Please let me know where you stand on this critical issue.

Jason from Pennsylvania sent this to Rep. Tim Murphy.

Mr Murphy,
I strongly believe you need to put aside partisan politics, and cross party lines to raise the debt limit. This has been a non-issue for so many years and only seems to be an issue due to your lack of respect for our Commander in Chief. I don’t recall many republicans objecting during the 7 debt limit increases of George W. Bush’s administration. Now is not the time to hold the middle class and US credit rating hostage. We all agree that debt reduction and balanced budgets are necessary, but please work with the opposing party and stop listening to the tea-party base.

Maggie from Portland:

Called Earl Blumenauer’s office and told him never, ever to vote for anything like the “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan. Also, not to put my Mom out in the street, either.

// more awesomeness.

“The Republican Wreckage – Republicans have lost sight of the country’s welfare”

NYT Editorial:

It’s hard to conclude anything else from their latest actions, including the House speaker’s dismissal of President Obama’s plea for compromise Monday night. They have largely succeeded in their campaign to ransom America’s economy for the biggest spending cuts in a generation. They have warped an exercise in paying off current debt into an argument about future spending. Yet, when they win another concession, they walk away.

This increasingly reckless game has pushed the nation to the brink of ruinous default. The Republicans have dimmed the futures of millions of jobless Americans, whose hopes for work grow more out of reach as government job programs are cut and interest rates begin to rise. They have made the federal government a laughingstock around the globe.

In a scathing prime-time television address Monday night, President Obama stepped off the sidelines to tell Americans the House Republicans were threatening a “deep economic crisis” that could send interest rates skyrocketing and hold up Social Security and veterans’ checks. By insisting on a single-minded approach and refusing to negotiate, he said, Republicans were violating the country’s founding principle of compromise.

“How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?” he said, invoking Ronald Reagan’s effort to make everyone pay a fair share and pointing out that his immediate predecessors had to ask for debt-ceiling increases under rules invented by Congress. He urged viewers to demand compromise. “The entire world is watching,” he said.

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Mr. Obama denounced House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to make cuts only, now, and raise the debt ceiling briefly, but he embraced the proposal made over the weekend by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, which gave Republicans virtually everything they said they wanted when they ignited this artificial crisis: $2.7 trillion from government spending over the next decade, with no revenue increases. It is, in fact, an awful plan, which cuts spending far too deeply at a time when the government should be summoning all its resources to solve the real economic problem of unemployment. It asks for absolutely no sacrifice from those who have prospered immensely as economic inequality has grown.

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Mr. Boehner will not accept this as the last-ditch surrender that it is. The speaker, who followed Mr. Obama on TV with about five minutes of hoary talking points clearly written before the president spoke, is insisting on a plan that raises the debt ceiling until early next year and demands another vote on a balanced-budget amendment, rejected by the Senate last week. The result would be to stage this same debate over again in an election year. Never mind that this would almost certainly result in an immediate downgrade of the government’s credit.

We agreed strongly when Mr. Obama said Americans should be “offended” by this display and that they “may have voted for divided government but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.” It’s hard not to conclude now that dysfunction is the Republicans’ goal — even if the cost is unthinkable.

Let’s keep crashing their sites!

You heard the president, let’s go.

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