Recall that in March, 2010, when the Obamacare battle was raging, following a walk through a Tea Party rally outside the Capitol, black congressional leaders John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver accused the Tea Party protesters there of spitting on them and calling them the “n-word.” Media outlets ran with it, but then Andrew Breitbart promised a $100,000 reward to the NAACP if anyone can show a video confirming the charge. The $100,000 was never paid.
You would think that, with the marvels of modern technology, someone would at least try to fake a video of some tea partiers yelling the n-word, but there have been no takers.
This was the event that put Andrew Breitbart on the map for me and probably for many conservatives. If ever a media outlet repeated the charge made by Lewis and Cleaver, a fair follow-up question would be whether the charge was ever confirmed, and why the $100,000 Breitbart reward was never collected.
Even without such a question, the nagging suspicion remained in the minds of all news consumers. After all, is the reporting of the news really reporting the objective facts as they really happened, or is it just a series of accusations of one group on another? A $100,000 reward to confirm a media narrative that went uncollected is a big stain on the credibility of any media outlet that reported this charge as fact.
Anyway, in recent online debates I have had with liberals, I have heard that you cannot compare the deficits under Presidents Bush and Obama because President Bush did not include the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in his deficits, whereas President Obama did. President Obama does the stand-up thing and includes expenditures where they really belong, so it is unfair to compare the deficits under the two presidents. Liberals have explained this to me several times.
While I don’t claim to be an expert on government spending, I have written a couple of columns that required a cursory research of Congressional Budget Office reports, and this argument sounds a little strange to me. You would think there would be a footnote next to the relevant deficit numbers, explaining that these numbers are not really apples-to-apples comparisons. A footnote like this: “oh, by the way, these deficit numbers between 2003 and 2011 are not really fair comparisons. The costs of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars have been omitted from the 2003 – 2009 figures, but have been added to the figures since 2009.” Something like that. But I haven’t been able to find such a footnote.
So, in the spirit of Andrew Breitbart, I am hereby offering a reward, and keep I mind that I do not have the amount of money that the late Mr. Breitbart had: if anyone can show to me that magic footnote that explains that the deficit numbers of Presidents Obama and Bush are not direct comparisons because of their treatment of war expenditures, I will give to that person my Starbucks card that still has $4.15 credit on it.
Just think of it: $4.15 for a delicious Starbucks coffee drink! While this might not be enough to get a “Venti” sized anything at Starbucks, this will pay for a “Grandi” sized coffee or Frappuccino. You can even wait until the holidays when Starbucks sells its pumpkin pie-flavored or peppermint coffee drinks. How cool is that?
So get to work! Go to cbo.gov, treasurydirect.gov, or whitehouse.gov/omb and find a report that will show that the annual deficits listed under Bush and Obama really are apples-to-oranges comparisons because of war expenditures. Show me the footnote, and the Starbucks card is yours.
Not that I blame liberals for trying to fudge the issue. The deficits under President Obama have truly been nightmarish. While many of us conservatives were disappointed that President Bush’s annual deficits averaged $251 billion per year during the eight years of his presidency, President Obama finished his first year as president with a 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion. And sure, fiscal year 2009 overlapped both presidencies.
But what about the years 2010 and 2011? Free from the sinister influence of President Bush, surely the annual deficits under President Obama for those years would be less horrifying. But not so: 2010’s deficit was $1.3 trillion, and 2011’s deficit was another $1.3 trillion. A recent CBO study even projected that the deficit for 2012 looks to be another $1.2 trillion. The United States now has a total debt of $15.7 trillion, making President Obama the most debt-inducing president of all.
With deficits like these, the interest part of our annual spending is going higher and higher, and the CBO projects that by 2020, interest from prior debts will make up 11% of our annual spending. Gee, you would think that as that interest amount gets higher, our country would be headed to bankruptcy or something.