Arguably the biggest lie coming from the Republicans and the Romney campaign is that President Obama is a tax and spend liberal who's directly and personally responsible for record deficits and a crushing national debt.
Not only is Mitt Romney telling his supporters that President Obama continues to spend out of control, but additionally that the president is responsible for doubling
the budget deficit since he took office. This is not a new attack.
Republicans who blindly greenlit trillions in Bush-era spending have
been engaged in this nonsense practically since the minute the president
I like to do this from time to time, so consider this a one-stop
source for debunking what the Republicans are claiming about the Obama
administration's fiscal record. Before I do, however, I'd like to note
that Republicans often confuse the national debt with the federal budget
deficit, not unlike the way they scramble the stimulus and the
bailouts. (The "stimulus," passed by President Obama, is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the "bailout," passed by President Bush, is also known as TARP.) They're not interchangeable terms.
For example, Karl Rove's new and highly deceptive anti-Obama commercial
somehow conflates the national debt and unemployment, calling it
"job-killing debt," even though job-creation and the national debt are
about as interdependent as Rove and The Truth. We can assume that Rove
simply doesn't know what the debt actually is, or that he's deliberately
lying to voters.
To be clear: the federal budget deficit is the annual difference
between what the government spends and what it collects in revenue. It's
often similar, higher or lower, than the previous fiscal year's
deficit. The debt is the total amount of money the United States owes to
creditors, and this much larger figure accrues from year to year. A lot
of people don't know the difference, and I've even heard very serious
cable news people mix them up, too.
So let's start from the beginning -- prior to 2009 when the president
was inaugurated. While it's true that, in a general sense, the deficit
and debt are higher than ever before, it has less to do with President
Obama, and more to do with the previous administration's careless
spending, ridiculously large tax cuts for the super-rich coupled with
the globally massive economic depression from which we're still
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