Monday, November 1, 2010

Figures from the CBO

A CU physicist sent around this message to interested voters, and I present it here in its entirety.
It troubles me greatly that the Republican and Tea Party leaders, with the help of the unlimited advertising on their behalf by corporate lobbyists, have totally misled the public about causes of the nation's economic problems. They have managed to convince many people that Obama and the Democrats are responsible for the budget deficit and other economic woes. The facts are quite the opposite. The source for all the numbers I provide below is the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and anyone can go to the web site to check the numbers I provide below.

Here is how the total Federal Debt (as a percentage of Gross Domestic product changed from 1980 to 2009):
Federal debt in 1981 when Reagan took over from Carter 26.2%
Federal debt in 1989 when Bush-1 took over from Reagan 41.1% (increase of 14.9%)
Federal debt in 1993 when Clinton took over from Bush-1 50.1% (increase of 9.0%)
Federal debt in 2001 when Bush-2 took over from Clinton 33.4% (DECREASE of 16.7%)
Federal debt in 2009 when Obama took over from Bush-2 42.0% (increase of 8.6%)
In total the Federal Debt increased by 32.5% during Republican presidents and DECREASED by 16.7% during the Democratic president.

Although bailing out Wall Street is unpopular, letting the banks collapse would have been devastating for the economy. The bailout was one of the few actions done with bipartisan support. Similarly, letting the auto industry in the US collapse would have severely hurt the economy as well as national security. Moreover, it is projected now that the eventual cost to the taxpayer will in the worst case be a tiny fraction of the original estimate and in the best case may in fact save the taxpayer money.

The war in Iraq and the mortgage fiasco both occurred under the watch of the Republicans, the former because of lies promulgated by the Bush administration and the latter because of antipathy to any reasonable regulation. The economy has slowly started to turn around under Obama, but it takes more than 2 years to fix a mess created over a long period of time. When Obama took office the Dow was around 7,500 and headed down to 6,500, and now it is over 11,000.

The Obama stimulus bill according to has:
a) Raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, b) Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points, c) Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and d) Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million.

Every credible analysis of the health care bill indicates it will save money. According to by 2019 it will provide insurance to 32 million Americans who would otherwise have been uninsured while at the same time saving money by reducing administrative costs and having increased competition among insurers in the nongroup market.

When Obama came to office, he made every effort to reach out to the Republicans and even included two Republicans in his cabinet. The Republican response was to try to block every positive initiative by the president, repeatedly using filibusters to allow the 41 senator minority to prevail over the 59-member majority. A large number of government positions are still unfilled because Republicans in the Senate have not approved Obama appointees. For example, MIT economist Peter Diamond's appointment to the Federal Reserve has been blocked by the Republicans, supposedly because he is unqualified. Peter Diamond won the Nobel Prize for Economics a month ago!

Vote for the candidates that have some respect for the truth, speak to the issues and are willing to reach across the aisle to work together. That is what made our country great and that is how we can keep it that way.

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