Why Are Republicans Changing Their Reason for Shutting Government?

Thursday, 10 October 2013 10:18 By Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed
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A week ago Republicans shut down the government, saying they would not vote for any budget that funds Obamacare. Then they said they would use the debt-ceiling as leverage to fight Obamacare. But now they say they are doing all this because of “spending.” Wait, what happened to Obamacare — their original reason for all of this?

Now Boehner Says It’s Spending

After the President’s press conference Tuesday Speaker Boehner said the President’s position was “unsustainable.” He said, “We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means.”

Wait. What happened to the complaints about Obamacare? Now it’s “spending?”

Let’s take a look at “what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means.”

The following numbers, except the 2013 deficit estimate, are from US Budget, historicalTable 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2018: (all numbers in thousands so add three zeros)


2002 Budget (Bush’s first) on-budget outlays: 1,655,232
2009 Budget (Bush’s last) outlays: 3,000,232
Subtract 1,655,232 from 3,000,232 and you get a spending increase of 1,345,429, or about 81%. (If you look at the “total” spending you see a rise of “only” 75%.)

2010 Budget (Obama’s first) on-budget outlays: 2,902,397
2013 Budget outlays (est) 3,044,916
That’s about a 5% increase. (If you look at the total spending you see a rise of 7%.)


Bush’s first year deficit (total), 2002 -157,758
Bush’s last year deficit (total), 2009 -1,412,688 — $1.4 trillion — a huge, enormous, crushing increase from a surplus under Clinton to a massive deficit under Bush.

Current deficit 2013, according to CBO estimate: -643,000 — a huge drop of more than 50% from the deficit left behind by Bush.

(Note: Clinton left behind a surplus. Bush cut taxes, massively increased military, and said the resulting deficits were “incredibly positive news” because they would force a budget crisis — apparently this one.)

Republicans, having already shut down the government they hate, say they will force the government they hate to default on its debt next week. Last week they said all of this was because of Obamacare. Now they say they are doing this because of non-existent spending and deficit increases.

Is there anything to say, except, “WTF?!”

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson (Redwood City, CA) is a Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, writing about American manufacturing, trade and economic/industrial policy. He is also a Senior Fellow with Renew California.

Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience including positions as CEO and VP of marketing. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. And he was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational applications of personal computers. More recently he helped co-found a company developing desktop systems to validate carbon trading in the US.

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