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Look at the numbers

Posted: September 5, 2010 9:50 p.m.
Updated: September 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Ronald Reagan used to say, “It’s not that our Democratic friends are wrong; it’s just that they believe so many things that aren’t so,” a point perfectly illustrated by Kevin Buck in “Bipartisan partisanship” on Aug. 10.

Buck writes: “... the policies of the Bush administration created massive budget deficits ...” Really? Is this so?

The last time that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency, they produced the budget for fiscal year 2007. According to the Budget Office and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the deficit that year was $161 billion, the fifth straight year of decline. The unemployment rate was 4.6 percent.

With the Democrats in charge of the House and the Senate, the budget deficit for fiscal 2008 nearly tripled to $458 billion; the unemployment rate rose to 5.8 percent.

With the Democrats gaining control of the Presidency as well, the deficit for fiscal 2009 nearly tripled again to the previously unthinkable sum of $1.4 trillion while the unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent.

With three months to go in fiscal 2010, the deficit is $1 trillion; the unemployment rate is 9.5 percent. The deficit for last month alone was $168 billion. To put it another way, the Democrats ran up a bigger deficit in one month than the Republicans did in their entire last year.

It is this sort of disconnect from reality that prompts Mr. Buck to conclude, “The Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have accomplished a great deal.” True, if you replace the word “great” with “massively unpopular.”

Reality tells the tale ignored. Gallup shows Obama with a 41-percent approval rating. Rasmussen’s Presidential Approval Index (he subtracts ‘strongly disapprove’ from ‘strongly approve’) has fallen from +30 on inauguration to -22 last week — 44 percent strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance while only 22 percent strongly approve.


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