George W. Bush: still stupid, or lying, or both

Now I understand everyone’s shit’s emotional right now, but I’ve got a 3 point plan that’s going to fix EVERYTHING.
Now I understand everyone’s shit’s emotional right now, but I’ve got a 3 point plan that’s going to fix EVERYTHING.

The Worst President in American History popped up out of his shame cellar* to mansplain how his presidency was not a complete earth-fucking disaster but was actually real good and even historians will say so one day, probably after everybody who lived through it is dead or once the same people who brought you the “Reagan Legacy Project” go to work on his legacy. Wonkette has more, but I thought this one bit was worth mentioning:

Bush also took on those — including many members of his own party — who say his policies led to excessive spending. He compared himself to Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan on several economic statistics.

In his tenure, total government debt in relation to the size of the overall economy, “which is the only accurate measure across the administrations, was close to Ronald Reagan’s and less than 41 and 42,” he said.

Bush said he also matches up well when measuring the annual deficits and government spending against gross domestic product. That’s even as analysts note that both overall federal debt and the annual deficit rose significantly during the Bush years.

See, the problem that arises when Bozo tries to talk Human is that he has to use “words,” and “words” generally “mean stuff.” When he tries to talk Economy, it gets worse, because often his “words” represent things that have to do with “numbers,” and “numbers” often have even more specific meanings than “words.” Often they lead back to “facts,” which can then be “checked” to see if you’re telling the truth, which makes it harder to shovel bullshit, or “clear brush” or whatever euphemism Bush uses for “lying your ass off.”

So, was Bush’s “total government debt in relation to the size of the overall economy” (a wordier yet dumber way of saying “debt to GDP ratio”) “close to Ronald Reagan’s and less than 41 [Papa Bush] and 42 [Clinton]”? Here is a chart what actually shows the facts (courtesy of Steve Clemons who obviously saw this day coming):

Oops
Oops

On total increase in debt as a percentage of GDP, W actually beats Reagan but is considerably higher than his Poppy and massively higher than Clinton, who actually decreased the debt relative to GDP. So, um, this is not, exactly, true, what W is saying.

BUT WAIT! you say, this is not fair! Comparing total debt to GDP doesn’t account for the fact that Poppy only served one term before Amercia decided it didn’t like him no more, so he had only half as much time to fuck the country up as his idiot offspring! And you’re right! Here is the annual debt increase to GDP ratio by president (again thanks to Steve Clemons):

Oops, again
Oops, again

By this measure W actually beats his dad, so another Oedipal disaster is thankfully averted. Still beats Reagan too, and holy hell what a shitty president that guy was. But 42 (Clinton)? Still our winner, because, at the risk of being repetitive, he decreased the debt relative to GDP while he was in office. By the way, if you prefer your fact-checking in chart, rather than graph, form, Wikipedia offers one broken down by Congress.

I’d ask why the intrepid The Dallas Morning News reporter who filed this story didn’t consider checking these particular facts, opting instead for the vague and dismissive “both sides say stuff” statement that “analysts note that both overall federal debt and the annual deficit rose significantly during the Bush years,” but I think we can probably figure that out, no?

*No, sorry, for Bush to be living in something called a “shame cellar” would imply that we live in a just, rational world. What I meant to say was “…took a break from giving secret and no doubt extravagantly compensated speeches in the Cayman Islands…” fasteddie’s wonderments regrets the error.

Author: DWD

writer, blogger, lover, fighter

3 thoughts

  1. Even Obama could have decreased debt relative to GDP if he were President in the Clinton era, albeit not as much with his wild spending… Why? Because the economy was booming. Why wasn’t the economy booming during the GWB and Obama administration? Oh… why of course… Because GWB was so miserable. Because if you’re Obama change takes time and we’ll see the result of his greatness over the course of the future but GWB’s misery was instantaneous! It wasn’t that the housing bubble burst due to a massive overreach of federal government (in part) concerning home loands and it certainly wasn’t that banks were greedy. Bush is blamed for the bubbling bursting when, in fact, a great deal of it happened during the Clinton administration. It’s all relative and if you’re moderate you can blame both sides but you, so very clearly, are not. Hate on my friend, hate on.

    1. Also, too, if I may, a large chunk of GWB’s instantaneous misery was the 100,000 or so folks he instantaneously killed for no reason, not just his damaging economic policies.

      One of the great things about being a conservative (er, sorry, “moderate”) is how you can shape reality to fit your preconceptions:

      Economy went in the toilet under Bush? Clinton’s fault!

      Economy boomed under Clinton? Reagan caused that!

      Economy struggling to recover under Obama? Obama’s fault!

      Of course, we’re not talking about “the economy,” we’re talking about the deficits that Junior ran up. Since two of the three largest drivers of those deficits were W’s unnecessary tax cuts and his warmongering, and the economic downturn by itself doesn’t come near to explaining the whole story, I’m afraid I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      Oh, and by the way?

      Even Obama could have decreased debt relative to GDP if he were President in the Clinton era, albeit not as much with his wild spending

      Being a “moderate”? You’re doing it wrong.

      His wild spending:

      Federal outlays over the past three years grew at their slowest pace since 1953-56, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. Expenditures as a share of the economy sank last year to 22.8 percent, their lowest level since 2008, according to Congressional Budget Office data. That’s down from 24.1 percent in 2011 and a 64-year high of 25.2 percent in 2009, when Obama pushed through an $831 billion stimulus package.

      “If you strip out the stimulus, discretionary spending over the last few years has been quite modest and is scheduled to go to levels we haven’t experienced in modern times,” Robert Reischauer, a former director of the CBO, said in an interview. “Obama signed on to that,” partly in response to Republican pressure.

      The slowdown in government spending has helped bring down the budget deficit, especially when measured against the size of the economy. The shortfall fell to $1.1 trillion, or 7 percent of gross domestic product, in the 2012 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, from $1.3 trillion, or 8.7 percent of GDP in 2011. In fiscal 2009, it was $1.4 trillion, or 10.1 percent of the economy, the highest since World War II.

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