Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 22, 2010

Washington in the 21st century: Leaders failed to learn from history


President Obama says that when he “walked in the door” in January of 2009 he inherited a budget deficit of $1.3 trillion. But he misstated the Bush deficit, which actually was slightly less than $800 billion when correct computations of the deficit and TARP money are used, and his deficit for 2010 is double what he inherited.

The budget deficit forecast for 2010 is 10.6 percent of GDP, up from 9.9 percent of GDP in 2009, and according to Reuters, “the budget still forecasts U.S. public debt rising above 71 percent of GDP by 2013, up from 53 percent in 2009, and almost 80 percent by 2020 — levels that could spook investors.” Americans recognize how serious this situation is, even if their leaders do not.

They are following White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s dictum “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” even if that means wrecking the country to push through their ideological agenda.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.

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