Faith-based Politics



Dang. I know it’s not polite to brag, I told you so, but I just can’t help it. For most of the last four years I’ve been blogging, progressives (a group I admit having joined in the process) have been arguing with conservative bloggers about the “financial cliff”. With an historically high national debt and the immense burden of the Great Recession, two wasteful wars, nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a dysfunctional, money-based

healthcare system (all of which president Obama inherited), we were told that we must embrace a financial policy of austerity.  Otherwise, the government would collapse and our children and grandchildren would be doomed to poverty. The Tea Party actually shut down the government over this issue. Fortunately, we had a president at the helm who quietly did what was necessary, including TARP, Stimulus policies, cash for clunkers, unemployment benefits extensions, Wall Street reform, and the auto bail-out. Well, guess who was right? You won’t hear it on Fox News.

Paul Waldman of the Washington Post reports

Today the Congressional Budget Office released its latest economic and fiscal projections, and guess what: The news is pretty good. In fact, all the “deficit hawks” out there who are deeply concerned about too much borrowing and the terrible choices our grandchildren will confront might want to write a letter of thanks to one Barack Hussein Obama.

To start things off, the CBO says the deficit this year will be $506 billion, or 2.9 percent of GDP. In 2013 it was $680 billion, so that’s a pretty steep drop. And in terms of GDP, not only is that slightly lower than the average deficit of the last 40 years (3.1 percent), it’s also a 70 percent decline from Obama’s first year in office, where because of the Great Recession, which brought both the need for more spending and a plunge in tax revenues, the deficit peaked at 9.8 percent of GDP.

He also reports that there has actually been a slowdown in Medicare spending (gasp). He says,

Like the program itself, the reasons for the slowdown in Medicare spending are complicated. But a big part of it is — you guessed it — the Affordable Care Act. The ACA has found direct savings in Medicare with things like cuts to some provider payments. More importantly, it has tried to achieve longer-term savings through means like encouraging hospitals to reduce readmissions (where a patient gets treated and released, then winds up back in the hospital a week later) and rolling out payment systems that promote more holistic care instead of just piling on expensive tests and procedures. It also has provisions that probably haven’t reduced spending yet but likely will eventually, like spurring the shift to electronic records.

The full WP article is here.

Will president Obama get any credit for this? The next two elections will tell the story, but if the folks who get all their news from Fox News and conservative talk-radio have their way, he won’t. They will point out, rightly, that the national debt continues to grow and that there is much more to be done.  They will also point out, wrongly, that their way would have been better.  That’s the way faith-based politics works.

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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7 Responses to Faith-based Politics

  1. jwhester says:

    Thanks Jim. This news has actually been building in this direction for awhile. The Fox ludites will continue to scream that we are sabotage our children’s future every time we talk about spending more on infrastructure, education, or Food Stamps. The funny thing is that they also claim to be the pro-lifers.


  2. Jim in IA says:

    Good news. I’ve seen other good reports like those you mention. Thanks for making this post.

    I especially like this…
    “Well, guess who was right? You won’t hear it on Fox News.”

    The criticism in the negative echo chamber is too loud to hear anything positive.


  3. Jeff Little says:

    In fact every Democrat president since World War II (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter) has decreased the deficit as a percentage of GDP, while every Republican president has increased the deficit as a percentage of GDP. Obama is, of course, unique in his reduction of the deficit in absolute dollar amounts.

    A great reference on this is “Unequal Democracy” by Bartels.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. List of X says:

    Don’t worry, Obama will get credit for this eventually – once he’s out of the office for 10-15 years, just like what happened with Bill Clinton. In 1998, GOP was busy trying to get him impeached, and by about 2010, he’s probably GOP’s favorite Democrat. Of course, this could be at least in part due to the fact that Bill Clinton is pretty much the only Democrat who can’t possibly run for president.


  5. aFrankAngle says:

    Thanks very much for this! Interestingly, the GOP will come the report in search of statements that will support their narrative.


  6. Archon's Den says:

    That’s the way faith-based religion works, too. 😦


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Faith-based religion works like faith-based politics? Maybe, Archon. That’s food for thought. Hmm.

      Each is usually chosen by intuition rather than reason.
      Each constantly reinforces its message, orally and socially.
      Each is heavily subject to confirmation bias.
      Each is dependent on money.
      Critical decisions are usually made in secret.
      In each, corruption is common.

      In religion the general membership doesn’t (usually) get to vote on the leadership or important issues.
      In politics, laws are enforced. In Christianity, sin can be forgiven; in Islam, they chop off your hand, or sometimes your head.
      Taxes are mandatory, alms are not.

      What have I missed? 🙂


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