I’ve always thought the middle of the road was for yellow stripes and dead ‘possums, so I’m instinctively uncomfortable when attacked from the right and the left. But that’s what happened with my commentary (which I also cross-posted at Cato-at-Liberty) about Bush, Obama, and the FY2009 budget deficit. Bruce Bartlett accused me of being a shill for the GOP on his facebook page, while a Redstate poster said I was giving Obama a free pass on all his spending.
I responded on Redstate, and you can click to read the entire post, but here’s the key points in my defense against attacks from the right:
Let’s deal with Mustango’s criticisms. He argues that budgets are passed by Congress, presumably implying that Nancy Pelosi, et al, should be blamed. The Speaker of the House is a complete statist, so I’m a big fan of anybody who points out her flaws, but since President Bush supported all of the wasteful spending adopted in the last year (as well as the first seven years) of his presidency, he also must bear responsibility for the results.
The second criticism is that I was letting Obama off the hook for his pork-filled stimulus. That’s definitely not the case. My blog post specifically noted that Obama bears part of the responsibility for the FY2009 deficit, but since less than $200 billion of so-called stimulus was allocated in FY2009, that is rather trivial compared to a budget deficit of more than $1.4 trillion. And even if the extra spending from the omnibus spending bill is added to Obama’s tab, his total is still less than $250 billion.
I’m sure I have plenty of flaws, but being squishy on the issue of the size of government surely is not on the list.