Obama: I Am Not a Socialist, Because Bush Expanded Medicare!Posted on March 9, 2009, 2:46pm | Matt Welch (Reason, Hit & Run blog)
President Obama was asked by New York Times reporters last week, "Are you a socialist as some people have suggested?" His first answer:
"You know, let's take a look at the budget – the answer would be no."The Times followed up, hilariously:
"Is there anything wrong with saying, 'Yes'?"According to the Washington Times, Obama responded like so:
"Let's just take a look at what we've done," Obama said, ticking off efforts his administration has made to stabilize the economy. But he acknowledged that, as he told Joe the Plumber, he plans to try to spread the wealth around.Unhappy with this garbled response, the president later called back reporters to clarify. What he said, I think, is telling:
"If you look on the revenue side what we're proposing, what we're looking at is essentially to go back to the tax rates that existed during the 1990s when, as I recall, rich people were doing very well. In fact everybody was doing very well.... We said that we'd give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans. That's exactly what we have done."
"I did think it might be useful to point out that it wasn't under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. It wasn't on my watch. And it wasn't on my watch that we passed a massive new entitlement -– the prescription drug plan -- without a source of funding. And so I think it's important just to note when you start hearing folks throw these words around that we've actually been operating in a way that has been entirely consistent with free-market principles and that some of the same folks who are throwing the word 'socialist' around can't say the same." [...]Obama will get no argument from me when it comes to Bush's disaster socialism. But this new he-did-it-too argument does run counter to another, Hendrik Hertzberg-applauded narrative that Obama has been running with since before inauguration: That his administration's economic policies represents a sharp break from the policies of his predecessor. As people like Washington Post columnist Robert J. Samuelson have begun to point out, Obama is running high on the contradiction-meter.
Well, I just think it's clear by the time we got here, there already had been an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system. And the thing I constantly try to emphasize to people if that coming in, the market was doing fine, nobody would be happier than me to stay out of it. I have more than enough to do without having to worry the financial system. The fact that we've had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk taking has precipitated a crisis.
* * * * *(me again)
Just to clarify here... Obama first blames Bush for *expanding* the government and deficit spending - a perfectly valid, and rather important criticism. Then he says that because of those policies, he has essentially no choice but to do the same thing.
Of course he also throws in the "lax regulation" bogeyman.
The truth on that is already sort of coming out to a degree though - At least Wiki has already figured it out and been established with credible sources (not that it's hard to find since at least the US government publishes that kind of data publicly and is easily accessible...)
I think a lot of people I know would have a really hard time squaring this:
"Regulation...with their endless regurgitating of "deregulation" as the primary cause for the financial melt down.
Economic regulation expanded rapidly during the Bush administration. President Bush is quoted as the biggest regulator since President Nixon. Bush administration increased the number of new pages in the Federal Registry, a proxy for economic regulation, from 64,438 new pages in 2001 to 78,090 in new pages in 2007, a record amount of regulation. Economically significant regulations, defined as regulations which cost more than $100 million a year, increased by 70%.
Spending on regulation increased by 62% from $26.4 billion to $42.7 billion. Whereas President Clinton cut the federal government's regulatory staff, President Bush expanded it by 91,196 workers between 2001 and 2007."
Of course... the easy rationalization is to say "well, sure maybe Bush did expand regulation, but he did it the wrong way! Obama will regulate correctly!"
To which I say: WAKE UP!