Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Blaming the Bush Tax Cuts : Even WaPo thinks Obama’s key talking point is bogus
National Review ^ | 10/10/2012 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 10/10/2012 7:27:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

"Now Governor Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy, and fewer regulations on Wall Street, all of us will prosper. In other words, he'd double down on the same trickle-down policies that led to the crisis in the first place."

--- President Obama in an ad released September 27.

This is Obama’s core message. In one way or another, he says it all the time. It's his kicker on the stump. You cannot watch an interview with the president or one of his subalterns without hearing it.

And yet, I don't think I've ever heard a TV interviewer, host, or pundit ask, "What are you talking about?"

Finally, the Washington Post's "fact-checker," Glenn Kessler (not exactly a darling of the political Right), tackled it recently. He found that it's a lie, giving it three "Pinocchios" out of four. He also found that the Obama campaign has virtually no citations to back up the claim. The supporting material for the ad quoted above cites a single column by the Post's liberal blogger, Ezra Klein, who told Kessler: "I am absolutely not saying the Bush tax cuts led to the financial crisis. To my knowledge, there's no evidence of that."

Klein is right. So is Kessler. “It is time for the Obama campaign to retire this talking point,” Kessler concluded, “no matter how much it seems to resonate with voters.” He would have given it the full four Pinocchios save for the fact that Obama occasionally throws in “deregulation” along with “tax cuts” as part of the explanation. In its defense, the Obama camp says it means all of Bush’s policies, not just the tax cuts it harps on almost exclusively — never mind that even Obama admits Bush issued more regulations than he did.

The question of what caused the crisis is obviously still controversial (though, Kessler notes, the official inquiry makes no mention of Bush’s tax cuts). But a consensus seems to be forming around the following narrative: The federal government, out of an abundance of concern for the plight of the poor and middle class, made it too easy to buy a home. Congress, on a bipartisan basis, set unrealistic affordable-housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. President Clinton used those goals to expand access to mortgages to low-income borrowers. Then President George W. Bush, with the approval of Congress, expanded the practice, until way too many low-income or otherwise underqualified Americans owned mortgages they couldn’t afford.

A mixture of greed, idealism, cynicism, and stupidity led to the practice of bundling those iffy mortgages into financial instruments that Wall Street didn’t know how to handle and regulators didn’t know how to regulate. As Representative Barney Frank (D., Mass.) put it in 2003, he wanted to “to roll the dice a bit” on regulating subprime mortgages.

When the Washington-abetted housing boom went bust, regulators demanded immediate markdowns of mortgage-backed securities, which required financial institutions to sell them, creating a fire-sale atmosphere that fueled the panic even more. The Federal Reserve responded by letting money tighten in a way it hadn’t since the 1930s.

Some Obama defenders will say that Bush’s deficits made it harder to deal with the crisis. That seems reasonable, even if it’s a red herring in the debate about what caused the crisis. And Obama’s record on deficits hardly gives him much standing.

I once thought that Obama’s relentless Bush-blaming was simply a mix of political expediency and gracelessness. But the truth is more complicated. Liberals have smartly, albeit cynically, laid the case that Bush was Herbert Hoover in order to make the claim that Obama is Franklin D. Roosevelt. For this to work, Hoover must be remembered as a do-nothing free-market guy. But Hoover was no such thing. He nearly tripled government spending in response to the Depression. FDR used Hoover’s spending as a baseline for his own, even as he dishonestly decried Hoover’s passivity.

Obama has done largely the same thing. The first bailouts of the crisis were supported by Obama but launched by Bush. The same goes for the first stimulus. Obama simply tripled down on all that while claiming he was breaking with Bush.

Or maybe I have that all wrong. Maybe we could get some clarity by asking the president, “What are you talking about?”

— Jonah Goldberg is the author of the new book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can write to him at, or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush; obama; taxcuts; taxes

1 posted on 10/10/2012 7:27:40 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind
Succinct and spot-on. Nice job Jonah.
2 posted on 10/10/2012 7:37:41 AM PDT by VegasCowboy ("...he wore his gun outside his pants, for all the honest world to feel.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind

It's not the nature of the evidence, but the seriousness of the charge. Dan Rather

It doesn't matter to the Leftists/Team Obama/Dems whether 'it' is a lie.

Romney is a felon.
Romney killed a woman who had cancer.
Romney is a tax cheat.
Romney is going to cut $5 trillion and make the middle class pay for it.

They just pull something out of the air and throw it against the wall in hopes that something will stick.

Obama has little in the way of a domestic or foreign policy to run on. Nothing he has tried seems to work. He got bin Laden. He got Obamacare. He spent $billions on green companies -- many of which have closed due to bankruptcy.

Look at the 7.8% unemployment manipulation -- from some 800,000 newly found working people. Rush L was right; he is the magic Negro and he had those numbers pulled out of a hat (or other place where the sun doesn't shine).

To mangle a quote from one of their own: 'Week after week after week we were told lie after lie after lie.' Ted Kennedy
3 posted on 10/10/2012 7:59:37 AM PDT by TomGuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Blaming the Bush Tax Cuts(sic)

Tax Rate Cuts, Goldberg.

4 posted on 10/10/2012 9:21:31 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro is a Kenyan communist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SeekAndFind
Then President George W. Bush, with the approval of Congress, expanded the practice, until way too many low-income or otherwise underqualified Americans owned mortgages they couldn’t afford.

This was pretty spot-on, except for this line here!

George W. attempted to rein-in the CRA and it's faulty footing on MULTIPLE occasions! And Barney Frank and company did everything that they could to thwart his efforts!

Other than this little misstep, I believe this is what Obama and the MSM pundits have tried to sell to the American public! The media has been trying to convince America that Bush fiddled while America burned! Ignoring the fact that Obama has GOLFED while America burned!
5 posted on 10/10/2012 10:11:47 AM PDT by ExTxMarine (PRAYER: It's the only HOPE for real CHANGE in America!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson