February 23rd, 2009
11:02 PM ET

Truth in Budgeting: Is it enough?

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from David Gergen tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/02/22/obama.so.far/art.obama.news.gi.jpg]

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

President Obama is taking a significant step toward fulfilling another important campaign pledge this week: he is unveiling a federal budget that actually tries to tell us some hard truths about the government’s finances. Too many years in the past, the Bush administration engaged in deception by keeping the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan out of the regular budget, plus pulling off some other shenanigans that disguised just how much the government was growing and how much its deficits were growing. By the time he left office, President Bush had practically doubled the national debt – doing as much damage in 8 years as the republic had suffered in more than 200 previous years combined.

Obama promised truth in budgeting, and he is succeeding far more than in the recent past. The cost of both wars will now be included in this week’s budget, money will be set aside to respond to natural disasters, and the budget won’t show cost cutting in programs that everyone knows will be revived (e.g., the alternative minimum tax).

The results of taking a truth serum – along with the horrendous costs we are piling up in fighting the economic crisis – will reveal eye-popping numbers stretching far into the future. We can expect at least $1.3 trillion in deficits this coming year, another mountain the following year, before the deficits will be shown to slope down to some $533 billion four years from now. The Administration is touting that as serious progress, but only a year or so ago, an annual deficit of $500 billion would have been wholly unacceptable.

We need to know the hard truths about our country’s financial situation and the Administration deserves congratulations for going as far as it has, but the question arises: has it gone far enough? Will even this first Obama budget tell us everything we need to know? Sadly, that does not appear to be the case.

Here are just a few things the administration must still tell us:

  • How much are these outbursts of federal loans and loan guarantees likely to cost taxpayers in the next few years? How much are they likely to add to deficits in the next five years? For example, how likely is it that General Motors and Chrysler are likely to repay their billions in bailouts so far? If they are unlikely to repay, shouldn’t the books show these as additional costs to Uncle Sam? That’s what corporations are required to show when they make loans that are unlikely to be repaid. Why not Washington?
  • How should we think about the real cost to the taxpayer of the housing bailout program the President announced last week? Two leading newspapers (The Washington Post, USA Today) called it a $75 billion program; two others (New York Times, Wall Street Journal) put the cost at $275 billion. If some of the best journalists in the country cannot agree on the real costs to taxpayers, shouldn’t the government tell us?
  • What about all the unfunded liabilities that the government is facing just around the corner? The Peter G. Peterson Foundation bought a full -page ad in Sunday’s New York Times pointing out that our entitlement programs – Medicare and Social Security – have some $56 trillion in liabilities stretching into the future. Shouldn’t the Administration give us a full accounting of just how big and serious these monstrous liabilities are?
  • And what about all the different financial programs that the Federal Reserve has launched in an effort to stabilize the economy. How much do they add up to? How will they be covered? How much will fall upon taxpayers? How much might lead to more inflation? To his credit, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke promised at a National Press Club speech last week that the Fed would come up with a better accounting. The White House and Treasury need to hold feet to the fire.

In short, as much as President Obama’s truth in budgeting deserves praise for shedding more light on our financial condition, there is still far too much that is hidden in shadows. With hundreds of billions of dollars in new commitments being casually tossed about, almost numbing in size and always confusing in content, the Obama Administration will do a great deal to begin rebuilding trust and confidence in the future if it tells us what we need to know – and not just part of it, all of it!

Filed under: David Gergen • Economy • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Carol, WI

    I've been reading posts by people complaining about something our Attorney General said (assuming AG means Attorney General) in this and other comment sections. Anyone care to elaborate on this? I do not listen to Limbaugh or Hannity so I am unsure what you are referencing.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  2. arnie

    "Bush administration engaged in deception by keeping the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan out of the regular budget, plus pulling off some other shenanigans that disguised just how much the government was growing and how much its deficits were growing. By the time he left office, President Bush had practically doubled the national debt – doing as much damage in 8 years as the republic had suffered in more than 200 previous years combined". Need I say anything?

    February 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  3. james branham

    Truth is illusive and often illusionary from most of our perspectives.
    Truth is stripping away the veneer and getting to the core of the problem. And what do we find at the core of this mess. The answer is GREED and nearly all of us are guilty. As Pogo said, we have found the problem and the problem is Us. We want to have it all Now and pay for it later; or better yet have someone else pay for it later. The corporate business plan has become all short range goals with only a wink at long range plannning. We as individuals have mortgaged most every thing to have pleasure now. And Government spends like ther is no tomorrow. Eventually someone has to pay. The time is now, the someone is us and it ain't going to be pretty. But let's go in with our eyes open.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  4. JP

    Where was the thuth in the stimulus bill. It was filled with nonstimulus

    February 23, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Dave

    The US Treasury DID NOT have $800 billion just laying around waiting for something to happen. We have to borrow that money – probably from China. One of these days, China will come calling to collect, and we will have to pull out empty pants pockets. My worry is that China will answer by saying something along the lines of "That's OK, we'll just take California." Overnight, we will have the United
    State of China, and US citizens living in California will become Chinese citizens subject to Chinese laws.

    And, if we don't change our ways, this process will be repeated again and again (49 more times), and then ,Oregon and Washington and Arizona ... will also become Chinese property.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I can't believe how gulable people are in regards to President O'Bama...bottomline, he's a Lawyer, Polician and his lips move...just like the rest of them.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  7. Texan

    Nobel Prize winners have agreed that tax cuts (BUSHY) did not do anything to revitalize or stimulate growth. The republicans pushed for this, knowing that it failed, and continue to argue over the economist about what is good for the nation. Sorry, but lawyers do not know the intricacies of the economy. Heck even economist are having a hard time with it, but at least they have a grasp and knowledge to support their claims. Republicans on the other hand, have done their damage, and continue to have their parties, nominating people for change all of a sudden. I doubt, they would have done so, if it were not for Obama. Same white, conservative, rich talk. Fiscal responsibilities. Palin paid those back taxes right.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  8. Craig

    Transparency is not always good. If I knew everything about you and you knew everything about me, there would be little trust to maintain a relationship let alone establish one to work together to solve a crisis. We have been stuck on this issue of transparency in all areas of life. It has only robbed our imaginations of our heros, reduced the greatest generation to fools, and leaves us no hope of the future as we progress down this path of judgment. Perhaps instead of complete transparency what we need is grace and forgiveness. Those can effect change including self-restraint. People can then trust one another and I imagine institutions too. In Change We Trust.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  9. anne

    Clinton brought down the National debt by the end of his terms but is now being critized for it by Rebs! T hey are claiming he was too focused on bringing down the debt and it hurt the nation. Now we see that when Bush was in office he more than doubled the national debt. I didn't hear anyone complain then. There seems to be a double standard. Anyone can look up the actual debt #'s for the past 40 years by going to the dept of the us treasury. They have a nice visual graph in red and blue. Choke on it, repubs. It shows very nicely what hypocrites the repubican party is when it comes to spending the tax payers money.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  10. Bill

    No! It's not enough. We're not a bunch of dummies. But it is a good place to start!

    February 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  11. Mike Fischer

    Why has no one addressed the real hurt in this fiscal crisis? Specifically, why hasn't anyone questioned the banks about their high credit card rates when compared to the near zero rates on the other hallmarks? If the banks are allowed to continue the raping of the average consumer with no relief, then the hurt is going to be compounded and magnified all the more. Is it not time to address one of the real issues facing the average American?

    February 23, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  12. Neil Pharr

    Putting Bush & Cheney in jail would not solve our economic problems, but it sure would make me feel a lot better. Deep down I know that we as humans do not have the right to punish – just the right to reform, but I just can't wait for God and the karma thing.

    Doesn't reading this make you feel better already.

    Neil in Atlanta

    February 23, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Troy, Florida

    I'm always amazed at the worthless dribble left on these blogs. Gergen, who is suppose to be an "expert" obfuscates and panders to whichever idiot that pays the bill. When it comes to our economy, presidential politics and the budget it disingenuous and outright irresponsible to lay the blame at Bush, or for that matter our new chief socialist Obama for the coming and past fiascos. Congress is 100% responsible for our finances, 100% responsible for funding programs and 100% responsible for the oversight that they neglect. They American people are 100% responsible for the idiots that they send there each year. When the American people are overwhelmingly against stimulus packages, auto bailouts, TARPS, and the likes of Chuck Shummer decry to the masses that the American people don't care about pork spending and earmarks so quite complaining. Then the American people need look to one place for their blame. The mirror. The president only ask for money, congress determines what, how, when and how much. They also determine the accounting principle. I suggest some of you go back to 7th grade social studies and read your constitution that is now getting used for toilet paper.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  14. Gilbert

    It’s funny to hear everyone talk about what Obama is NOT doing. For heavens sake he’s trying to kill a multiheaded beast and is at least attempting in a whole hearted fashion within the first 30 days of his presidency to make decisions as quickly as possible for the betterment of EVERYONE...not just his friends(re:bush). That being said, some of his idea’s might not work, some probably will, in the end he’s doing what he can with what was left to him by Bush & Co...and what was left isn’t pretty. Sadly Obama could have done so much for this country, now he’s trying to decide which flaming bag of dog poop to put out first. In the end it’ll be messy and stinky, but at least the whole front porch and house aren’t going to burn down.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  15. Leo

    Another CNN, conservative hack digging into Obama. I love coming here to pick on CNN. This network has gone downhill drastically in the past few years.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  16. Larry

    This financial disaster more likely than not originates in Mr. Bush's
    (1)war spending, (2) conflict-of-interest laden contacts for Halliburton, etc., along with (3) tax cuts for the wealthy/privileged, designed to prevent liberals' spending on domestic programs - however these factors are never accounted for in media reports.

    Mr. Obama's approach is different than the not-so-grand GOP's smoke and mirrors. He is spending - and curiously - just as Mr. Bush did after acknowledging our crisis. Republicans are simply not credible; they lack gravitas. By the way, where is their solution??

    However, there is only so much $$ that may be printed before our nation is destroyed. Relentless pursuit of self-serving deficits and debt has brought our nation to this point.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  17. SWW

    Obama only wants to show how big the deficit really is so he will have an excuse to raise taxes.

    and Dan with your, "What amazes me is that we are even listening to Republicans about their ideas of how to manage the economy." Obama and the Dems in congress are spending even MORE than Bush did. Spending too much and buying on credit got us into this mess, more spending isn;t going ot get us out.

    I give Bush credit for running the wars outside the budget, it let us all know what the wars cost without hiding it in the normal budget process.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  18. Jim

    This is from a man who worked in several republican administrations.
    The republican idea that we don't need to pay taxes and the economy will flourish has been proven a lie over the last 8 years.
    Obama has only been in office about 35 days and they are proclaiming failure.
    The attack dog ideaology of the Republicans will be the ruin of the USA

    February 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  19. Tony L. - Atlanta

    To Cindy –

    "So how is he any different then any other politician? He isn’t!! Stop trying to make him out to be a God…he’ll never be one!"

    Nobody is looking to Obama as a God or Messiah. It whats people like you say who can't believe the worldwide popularity of this individual, and thats because of some hate your somehow holding on to. He inspires hope – nothing more. That's what people look for in a leader, something we haven't had in 8 years.

    Let it go, give him a chance, and join the rest of us Americans in trying to restore this country from Republican ruin.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Truth in budgeting is certainly not enough.
    I don't see any efforts to revise regulations for the banking industry , rating agencies, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or create any oversight or checks and balances of them. Until that happens, why should consumer/stockholder confidence be restored? Why should Americans think their investments are better protected going forward? If the U.S. regulatory system is perceived to be corrupt and broken, what does throwing (my and your) future taxes to industries accomplish?

    February 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  21. Walt from Canada

    Why are you people not supporting your President in his endeavours to get you out of the hole Bush left you in??? He did not start 2 wars, especially a totally unnecessary one. Your neocon buddies did that to you. Your other neocon buddies were crooked and ran your financial system into the ground while your Bush baby looked on (And Cheney.

    President Obama has been in office for about 1 month. Give him a break? Work with him to solve your problems as anyone who doesn't is , to coin a great George Bush phrase, unpatriotic!! Remember that??

    February 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  22. Price

    Isn't it funny how you want answers now, but no one cared to ask questions before the shock and awe crap? Get a grip, President Obama didn't create this mess, he is trying to help clean it up the best he can. Pray that JEHOVAH GOD gives him wisdom, understanding and guidance.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  23. lw

    As an outside observer, I am amazed at the dishonesty of your media. The dishonesty regarding the entire war against Iraq. The silence of your cowardly media as the true cost of the war was hidden from your people, as you all feared retaliation by the Bush administration. Today, you have become righteous defenders of the fiscal responsibility religion. Is it that you were all afraid of the wrath of the republicans?. Did David Gergen insist and write editorials calling for the inclusion of these items as part of the budgets past?. Today, however, as we lose jobs here in Canada because of your collective cowardness in holding your Government responsible, all I can read about, and see in your reporting are talking heads attacking everything your President tries to do. I have always believed that you have done so much for the world that whether I would want to live in your country or not I respected your accomplishment. Today, I can only hope that America will find its way. Slavery allowed you to do great things without the cost of labour. After slavery, seasonal workers, farm workers and 'illegal' immigrants stoked the fire of your economy. Today, you need to figure out how to produce your products at a reasonable cost while maintaining a decent standard of living for all your people. If you can't come together as a people, then let us all gather and mourn the death of America

    February 23, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  24. Peter Fragale

    Mr. Gergen,
    I respect you a great deal. See you on CNN all the time. You are right...but how much bad news are the citizens willing to hear?
    Peter Fragale

    February 23, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  25. Patricia Miller

    I want to know if 2010 tax tables will be changed. I understand the current tax cut which will give us all more money weekly for 2009 BUT will we pay for it next year when we file our returns? I got a refund this year filing S-0 but if he cuts the taxes in one area and leaves the tax rates the same or increases them, I will end of owing when I file in 2010. Is that the best he can do for us??

    February 23, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  26. Jeannie Brooks

    Thank you David, for your informative piece.
    On the cost of the Housing Affordability... Plan, the $75B is to implement the 3 parts of the mortgage mitigation plan; there is an additional $200 B to Fannie/Freddie, so both totals are correct. Perhaps you could tell us how Fannie/Freddie will use the money: to make loans to new homebuyers, I presume? I presume this will help reduce the housing inventory resulting from the foreclosure crisis which is too big right now and will continue to drive down home values- and it will serve to help put a floor under falling home values?
    I hate to see some comments here suggesting that Obama will not be truthful about the budget. He is the most honest, straight-talking president we've ever had, and I do not know of any time that he has lied to us. I am grateful we have such a competent and principled leader and it hurts to see such undeserved bitter, corrosive cynicism.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  27. kim a. salem, or

    Here's what I appreciate: The Obama administration treating us all like adults and educating us as to just how everything looks out there. Maybe it's all bad news, but we need to wake up and smell the coffee. For 8 years, all we heard was "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" when in reality, the fundamentals of our economy were in the tank, big time. The layers are slowly begin peeled back, and it's not pretty, but we need to deal with it. Obama is asking us to all grow up and be a part of the solution.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  28. Kenneth Silverbush

    Gergen should know better than to say that President Obama and his minions are "casually" tossing around billions of dollars in commitments. There seems to this reporter nothing casual about the President's approach to solving the worst economic crisis since the depression. Just as comedians find little "funny" about Obama, apparently pundits like Gergen have to try to instill Obama's unbelievable task with some kind of taint, implying that the President's efforts to save this nation from economic ruin are somehow casual. I find his comment both wrong and, well, much too casual. ks

    February 23, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  29. Glen

    Mr. Gergen:

    You make some very good points in this article. I do take issue with laying a lot of blame on George Bush for the run up in the national debt. The national debt has increased at fast pace for much of the past 40 years. Bush is to blame for some of this issue, but both parties of congress deserve more of the blame.

    The budget impact of entitlement programs and unfunded pension liabilites for government workers has been known for years. Previous attempts to address these issues, primarily by Republicans, have always been sidetracked by politics as usual. Conservatives were labeled as mean spirited when they attempted to address the problem. Bill Clinton was a master at gaining political advantage from proposals intended to address Medicare and Social Security issues. We have now reached a point where we can no longer avoid these issues. The mismanagement by our politicians in this area is terrible. The fact that we the people have allowed it to happen is just as bad.

    Measuring the problem correctly is the first step to finding a real solution. So, Obama's initiative in this area is welcome. I have read some articles about his intended approach on this matter. The approach seems solid. The sad part is, none of these are new ideas. I hope he can move Congress forward on this matter.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  30. anita

    You Bush lovers will never admit what he did to the economy. You even have the audacity to write here that Obama will not tell the truth about his budget. Where do you get your ridiculous ideas. We had eight years of Bush. He never told the truth about his budget yet we were spending $2 million a month on his wars.

    Obama has been in office a month and you bashers just love to sit back and blame him for everything that is wrong with the economy. I hope you live in states that your governor will not take any stimulus monies. You don't deserve any. And I hope you have good jobs and not someone waiting for their unemployment to be extended.

    What a bunch of crybabies!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  31. Tony L. - Atlanta

    I think the problem of the budget is going to one that more than one administration will have to address not just Obama's. However, the president can get the ball rolling by setting the precedent which other's will be pressured follow if he's succesful in it's openness.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  32. Annie Kate

    I'm not sure I want to know all of it in one sitting. I'm sure it is a huge mountain of debt but we don't right now need more news that will make things seem insurmountable.

    If the car industry can't pay back the money the government is loaning them then why is the government doing the loan – seems more like a gift and they should call it such. If the automobile industry can't pay the money back I'm not really for lending them anymore – I can't get loans if I can't pay them back; why should they?

    February 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  33. Jill Montrey

    Thank you for being an articulate, calm, and relatively unbiased commentator over the years. The media shares some of the blame for confusion over spending. Every time a Republican has whined about 'out of control spending' in the past month, my toes curl. I wait for someone in the media to display a simple graph of the national debt from FDR to GWB (see cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm), which makes quite a visual impression, and then add a new point for our current rescue spending to put it in perspective. Then you could plug in potential trajectories for all of the upcoming liabilities you just discussed. Many people are visual learners and there has been little done to help people visualize the big picture.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  34. David Hock

    You can always count on David Gergen to be direct, fair and unbiased in his comments. I don't think I've ever heard him lean one way or the other too much. just like this truth in budgeting blog. He praises President Obama for his efforts yet still finds "fault" or a perspective that shows more can be done.

    Honest reporting, it's what CNN says it will do, especially with Anderson Cooper and his colleagues. thank you for constantly delivering it.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  35. marie louise

    my fear is that if we (USA) borrows so much money from china to pay for our expenses hoping that china wil continue to buy our securities does anyone in the gvt and the thinkers think about this danger, we will not be able to raise the human right with china and they will become more represible to their people. It is a shame on her first trip there, Ms clinton, she did not have the decency to utter the word human right because we are so endebted to china. I know what it feels to live umder dictatorship and when ever that the administratin in the USA is democrat in power, people all over the work always hope that some progress in term human right will bemade now that is no longer the case. we need cash her in the usa to satisfy our appetite of consurism, people in this country needs to learn to save and lives within thein means.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  36. melinnewberg

    I agree with Michael in Virginia. This administration is about as "transparent" as a mud puddle. Mr Gergen, I once respected your views and appreciated your reporting but as of late it seems that you are following down the same path of Chris Mathews pant leg, without all ,but still way too much slobbering.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  37. mark

    give me the fair-tax then leave me alone.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  38. Melissa

    It never ceases to amaze me how people such as yourself think that the gvt is only going to have this ONE meeting and no other. Or that the information you are asking for won't be revealed down the line when they can more accurately predict the effect all this will have.

    The Stimulus hasn't even yet been released dear. They don't have accurate numbers yet because they don't know. And as much as the vaunted economists can claim that THEY know, they don't know either.

    Time is the only thing that is going to tell. Harping on it like a broken record isn't going to help anything or anyone.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  39. Yevette

    This is a good start. It has taken years of putting a smiley face on budget issues that has sent our economy and the world economy into a tailspin. This will not be corrected overnight. I wonder how Republicans feel about their cost cutting strategies now that the truth is coming out about the budget. Trickle down economics does not work when the part that is being trickled down is going into the pockets of greedy business men and women.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  40. Drew Steinbeck

    We need your counsel again, David Gergen, in a more-than-commentary role. Having said that, it is clear tha so many truths have been denied for so long, the people are not ready for all of them to come tumbling forth. Obama is pacing the release of those truths - maybe consciously, maybe not - because he is trying to match a hopeful solution with a notoriously bungled fact: The convergence of conditions far exceeds our capacities to manage.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  41. Matthew Yetter

    By bringing the annual deficit down to $500 billion from $1.3 trillion, Obama is telling America that he's only going to be half as bad as Bush. We're still going to be adding to the national debt at a rate of $2 trillion per presidential term.

    And that's if nothing changes! We're already being told that the massive expenditures currently in the works or already implemented are only the beginning. What if the economy takes longer to recover than expected? What if it turns out that what has been done so far is making things worse? The simple truth is that Obama can talk all he wants about budget plans four years from now, but that's only talk. The only thing that's a certainty right now is that he's spending money and growing the deficit at a rate that would embarrass any president in U.S. history.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  42. Jason

    I am not an Obama fan at all, but one thing he IS doing is transparency. Go to Recovery.gov and there are links to bring you to the bill.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  43. John, Nevada

    We will get a lot more truth from Obama then we ever did with Bush. I wish these Bush lovers would just go away. Haven't they done enough damage?

    February 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  44. Carl Scagnel

    I wish gergon would get a real job one of these days instead of being a talking head to whichever way the wind is blowing. The whole seems to run on the opinions of self-styled 'experts'.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  45. Patrick

    Last president has robbed this country openly with two wars. Guess what he was from Texas. Now the mob head is from chicago and he is going to do more damage to this nation as compaired to previous one. Wake up America. Recently AG has use the words and evryone is saying he did't mean this and that, NYT prints a stir picture and everyone wants them to Apologize. You have not seen nothing yet, It is going to be worst and lots of material for Historians.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  46. Dave Doss

    Hi michael.
    To answer your question: yes, the American people have seen the stimulus bill. Well, to be exact, they could see it if they bothered to read it.


    February 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  47. Simpliticus

    And the truth shall set you free! Finally, getting some truthful accounting of the disastrous Bush administration. What economic gains were made by invading Iraq? What are the real costs both in oil and wealth for the Iraq conflict? What did it gain the US to go into Iraq and lose its soul?

    February 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  48. Dan Stewart

    This is the most staggering statement:
    "By the time he left office, President Bush had practically doubled the national debt – doing as much damage in 8 years as the republic had suffered in more than 200 previous years combined."

    What amazes me is that we are even listening to Republicans about their ideas of how to manage the economy.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  49. Cindy

    I'm sorry but here lately I think you are drinking too much of that Kool-Aid. If you think that Obama is really going to lay everything out there for us to see them you are mistaken! Did he allow us to view the stimulus in time to say if we wanted it or not? NO..he slammed it out then had it voted into law within hours. So how is he any different then any other politician? He isn't!! Stop trying to make him out to be a God...he'll never be one!

    As far as the deficit goes then you better be looking for him to make it rise way worse than Bush ever thought of doing by the time he adds in all of these stimulus plans, bank bailouts and oh yeah...free health care! Our deficit will grow more in his short 4 years than the whole 8 with Bush.


    February 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  50. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Do you actually think that our government is going to revealed the "real budget"-–or will they revealed the budget that they want us to see-–and why do I say that-–has the American people seen the stimulus bill? It is a nice thought--but that is never going to happen-neither in my lifetime nor the President's.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
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