Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conservative Arguments the Obama Campaign Effectively Used in Order to Win

I have identified three conservative arguments that United States President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their fellow liberal Democrats used to win reelection in the 2012 election.

Rejection of the Liberal Argument of Accepting American Economic Decline

            President Jimmy Carter, a liberal Democrat, argued that Americans should accept that the U.S. economy would not be as strong as before because of post-war American decline.  Because of this argument and his explanation that there was a general “malaise,” he provided no hope for economic improvement.  Republican nominee Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in the 1980 presidential election by inspiring his fellow countrymen that because of freedom, America could do better economically and that “its best days were ahead.”  No one has followed Carter’s model of accepting decline.  Every nominee from either party has argued that the economy could get better. 

            Obama followed the optimistic Reagan model by arguing that America could get better economically – with Obama’s policies while simultaneously arguing that it would not by returning to the Republican policies he falsely blamed as responsible for the recession.  Now Obama’s belief that America could get better was not because he believes in the free market like Reagan, but because he believes he can transform the United States into a European-style socialist welfare state.  His optimism about the American economy does not extend to a rejection of the companion liberal argument of accepting a decline in U.S. military power or even diplomatic influence.  Nevertheless, the point is that the Obama campaign and other liberal Democrats recognized the lack of popular appeal of the old liberal notion of accepting economic decline.  The Democrats know that they must produce positive results because Americans expect to prosper.

Appeal to the Middle Class

            Liberal Democrats had been identified as representing the interests of the poor because they advocated policies that were intended to help the poor – often at the expense of the middle class.  The backlash from the middle class has led them to advocate increasingly for the middle class, as well.  For years, they have been claiming that Republican policies have hurt the middle class.

            During the 2012 campaign, liberal Democrats not only advocated further extensions of the “Bush middle class tax cuts,” but attempted to outflank the Republicans on their right by claiming that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plans would amount to a tax increase on the middle class.  The liberal Democrats’ fiscal and economic ideas do not work and they are wrong to appeal to Americans as constituents instead of as individuals by promoting policies that that are beneficial to the economy as a whole, or at least do as little harm to it as possible.  Indeed, it is wrong for them to pander to voters by trying to bribe anyone into voting for their policies.  Nonetheless, the Democrats realize that they cannot win by appealing only to the poor.  Republicans have won the argument that tax cuts are good for the middle class, just as they had won the argument that welfare should be temporary, not a way of life.

The Recognition of Stock Prices as an Economic Indicator
            The third conservative argument used by the liberal Democrats during the 2012 general election campaign is implicitly related to the second one.  It was that their economic policies must be working because the Dow Jones Industrial Average of thirty blue-chip stocks was doing well, implying that the market was ratifying the liberal Democratic policies by demonstrating its confidence in them.  Indeed, the Left was actually boasting that stocks were doing well! 

            In the past, rising stock prices, particularly as reflected by the Dow average, were dismissed by the liberal Democrats as something that benefited only the wealthy.  Stock prices rose to record highs during the administration of President George W. Bush, a Republican, the significance of which they dismissed, but when they dropped after the Panic of 2008, liberal Democrats began to cite the decrease as an indicator of the severity of the economic recession.  Since Obama took office, they have increasingly pointed to rising stock prices as indicators of economic recovery, meaning that they recognize stocks as reflective of the economy as a whole, not only how the upper classes are doing.  Perhaps their attitude change has occurred because they realize now that a majority of Americans, including many middle class Americans, owns stocks, often through pension funds.

            The liberal Democrats are still a long way off from a mature economic view about stocks, as they still vilify some of the industries that comprise the mutual funds most Americans own, such as the energy, pharmaceutical or insurance sectors, or toward understanding that policies that adversely affect businesses in general or even particular sectors or industries can affect the whole economy.  Thankfully, many voters do understand at least in part because of the more widespread ownership of stocks because conservatives are winning the argument about the economic significance of stocks.
            If I think of more such examples of conservative arguments used by the Left, I shall post them.  In the meantime, I invite you, my dear readers, to post any other examples.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving; Conservatives Have Much for which to be Thankful

          In my first substantive post after I launched this blog four years ago, I urged my fellow conservatives Americans to be thankful, despite the election (  A similar message applies today.

           We conservative Americans must always remain grateful to God for the liberty we enjoy and those who serve to keep us free, among the many other blessing we enjoy.

           We must remain confident that our principles are right and persevere in promoting them.  In fact, we must increase our efforts to educate our fellow citizens about the federal Constitution, basis civics, fiscal policy and macroeconomics, in addition to promulgating sound policies.  We start on a still-strong foundation, as the American electorate disagreed with few of our ideas and agreed with many, some of which are still under consideration in both federal and state government.

           As I noted in my last two posts analyzing the 2012 general election results, conservatives wield far more power in federal and state government than after the last election.  Unlike then, not only do conservative Republicans hold the majority of the United States House of Representatives, but hold several more seats than necessary to filibuster in the Senate.  The larger GOP congressional caucus is more conservative than before.  Meanwhile, conservative Republicans now hold a large majority of gubernatorial offices, as opposed to a small minority, and have also flipped a minority in state legislative seats to a majority.

           In addition, although they are never predictable and cannot be relied upon always to support our cause, the federal courts have given conservatives a number of landmark victories, such as upholding the right to keep and bear arms, state laws requiring voters to produce photographic identification and free expression for corporations.  Partial victories were also won in upholding states' rights in immigration and in President Barack Obama's federalization of health insurance.

           Indeed, the health insurance federalization law is being revealed as vulnerable both because of the way it is written, such as allowing states to opt out of creating health insurance exchanges and thereby to avoid employer mandates to provide health insurance or face penalties, and the Supreme Court ruling allowing states to opt out of Medicaid instead of being coerced into paying for the expansion by the federal government.  There may also be a public backlash against the plan once the more unpleasant features of it begin to be implemented.  Other issues, such as rising debt and entitlements going bankrupt, will present additional opportunities for conservative leadership.

           After a period of necessarily mourning the loss of the presidential election, we conservatives should return to offering ideas with the good cheer and optimism that reflect the confidence of our ideas and attract others to the cause of liberty.

           Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  May God bless America!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Analysis of the 2012 General Election across the U.S. and in Pennsylvania

           In my last post, I analyzed the elections for presidential electors across the United States in general.  I shall analyze all the other elections across the Union and the general election in particular in Pennsylvania in this post. 

The 2012 Election in the United States will be remembered largely as a close, status quo election, with little change either in the Executive or Legislative Branches of the federal government or in the states.  Nonetheless, there were some significant conservative consolations.

            Republicans lost only a few seats in the United States House of Representatives, where they retained a relatively large majority, and in the Senate, where they still have a minority robust enough to filibuster Democratic legislation or appointments.  These losses are relatively low for a party that simultaneously loses the presidential election.   In other words, President Barack Obama had few coattails. 

The win by the GOP in the People’s House, is a mandate for not raising taxes and for cutting wasteful spending and restoring the military, which thereby denies Obama a mandate for raising taxes and spending and gutting the military.  The Republican caucus in the Senate, with the retirement or loss of several moderates and the election of several conservatives, will shift rightward.  

            In the States, Republicans gained one governor, in North Carolina, which gives them 30, as well as a few more state legislative chambers across the Union, while holding onto most of the historic state legislative gains the GOP made in the 2010 Election.

            Indeed, wave elections, such as in 2010, include the winning of marginal races that are difficult for a party to defend, which makes the Republican holds in federal and state elections in 2012 significant.

            It is consoling to recognize that far more conservative Republicans hold federal and state office now than after the 2008 presidential election. 

            On ballot questions, despite some high-profile narrow losses for conservatives on a number of referenda in several states on gay marriage or the legalization of marijuana, as well as a few other losses on various issues in other states, there were several conservative victories among the states.  Michigan’s rejection of a referendum to amend the constitution to require collective bargaining and California’s rejection of a referendum to require the labeling of genetically-modified foods were among the most reported, but the Conservative News Service also reports several other wins for the conservative position on ballot questions: voters in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona and Washington, as well as in two California cities, approved referenda to limit various tax increases.  Missouri also approved a referendum against the creation of a health insurance exchange under Obama’s federalization of health insurance plan while New Jersey approved pension and health insurance reform for judges, according to CNS.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans lost all five statewide races: for presidential electors, U.S. Senate, and state Attorney General, Treasurer and Auditor.  Most of these losses were fairly close.

            In the campaign for Presidential electors, the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost the popular vote by 5% in Pennsylvania with over a million more registered Democrats than Republicans, instead of the 10% loss by the John McCain and Sara Palin ticket in 2008.  The 2012 GOP ticket lost statewide by less than 284,000 votes.  The Romney-Ryan ticket won the rest of the Commonwealth outside of Philadelphia by well over 180,000 votes. 

The Republican ticket won 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, as opposed to 49 by McCain/Palin.  I am proud to report that my county, Berks, was among those that flipped from the Democratic to the Republican ticket, thanks in small part to my local campaign effort.  The GOP ticket made noteworthy gains in the Philadelphia suburbs, where voters found Romney’s business experience and fiscal conservatism appealing, reversing the Democratic trend of the last several elections.  It especially made gains in Democratic southwestern PennsylvaniaPittsburgh’s Allegheny County was a single Democratic island in a sea of counties that voted Republican, several of which produced landslides for the Romney-Ryan ticket.  President Barack Obama’s hostility to coal and natural gas, the right to bear arms, moral issues and religious liberty were among the reasons for the GOP gains. 

            The Democratic win in the race for state Attorney General was the first since the office became elective in 1980.  The loss of all three state row offices is unprecedented for either party.  The Democrats also made gains in the state House of Representatives and Senate, but the Republicans retain the majority in both chambers.

            One significant consolation for the Keystone State Republicans was the defeat of an incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative from western Pennsylvania, giving the GOP a 13-5 advantage in the House delegation, up from 12-7 before reapportionment and the 2012 elections, which builds on the gains from the 2010 elections. 

            The 2012 general elections for president and other federal and state offices reflect neither a victory for liberalism nor a defeat for conservatism.   Although the Obama-Biden ticket won and the Democrats made some gains in Congress, voters kept the division of federal government they had created in 2010 and maintained or strengthened Republican rule in the States.

Conservative Analysis of the 2012 Presidential Elections

           In this post, I shall analyze the results of the 2012 elections for presidential and vice presidential electors across the United States.  I shall analyze all the other elections across the Union and the general elections particularly in Pennsylvania in my next post.  The election result was disappointing and disturbing for us conservatives, but there are a number of consolations.

            Compared to 2008, the 2012 popular vote for electors was even closer.  The Democratic ticket of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden lost ground by every standard: total popular votes, popular margin of victory, States won and Electors.  The Obama-Biden ticket won by less than 4 million votes, which represented a 3% popular vote margin of victory, 25 States and 332 Electors, as opposed to 9.5 million votes, 7% popular vote margin, 28 States and 365 electoral votes.  Indeed, the Democratic ticket won by only around 264,000 votes in four States (Florida, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire).  There was significantly less voter turnout than in 2008 because of a much larger drop in Democratic than Republican turnout.  Republicans gained a share of the votes of “independents” compared to 2008.

            Obama’s victory despite these decreases in popular votes and expected electoral votes are unprecedented for a candidate standing for reelection to a second term without a major third-party candidate on the ballot.  It is also unusual that his party simultaneously lost seats in Congress, meaning he had no coattails.  Thus, the election represented a moral victory for Republicans and means that there is no second-term mandate for Obama, especially when considered along with the Republican retention of its majority in the U.S. House.

The central premise of the liberal Democrats during the election campaign was that Republican policies, especially tax cuts, had caused the recession.  With a few exceptions, like this blog (See especially several of my posts shortly before the election), conservatives and Republicans hardly rebutted this oft-repeated claim, both during the end of the Bush Administration and throughout entire Obama Administration, even during the election. As a result, voters blamed the policies of former Republican President George W. Bush not only for causing the recession, but even for the continued economic weakness over the last four years more than they blamed the policies of Obama.  They gave the current President credit for the weak recovery which they optimistically expected to improve. 

Although the economy remains weak, it is not in the state of depression.  Eight percent unemployment means that 92% of the workforce is employed.  However, many have given up looking for work and do not count as part of the workforce while many others are underemployed.  Other major employment problems are the number of chronically unemployed and slow job growth.  The economy has also suffered from the loss of homeownership of many and the decrease in the value of the homes of everyone else.  As I have posted, Obama’s policies have not been helpful.

The difference in 2012 with the 1980 election when Republican Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter, however, was that there was also high inflation at that time, which affected more people more adversely than now.  Moreover, there was a sense of “malaise” because Carter argued that Americans should accept decline.  He seemed unwilling or unable to provide hope for improvement.  By contrast, Obama followed the optimistic Reagan model that every presidential nominee of either party has since followed of arguing that the American economy could get better.  Obama also specifically argued that the economy would improve with his policies, whereas it would not by returning to Republican policies.  Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the unemployed voted for Obama at least in part because of his extension of unemployment compensation.  Therefore, the higher the unemployment rate, the more votes of unemployed workers Obama would have won, notwithstanding any loss of votes of those who might blame him for higher unemployment. 

Conservatives see people as individuals; liberals seem them as members of constituencies.  As with the poor and the unemployed, and even the middle class, the Democratic campaign followed a campaign strategy of grouping people into constituencies, such as women, blacks, Hispanics, students and gays.  Many in these groups fell into the trap of being condescended to by voting for the candidate that pandered to their constituency, thereby suggesting that people do not think as individuals and reinforcing stereotypes about people based upon what group to which they belong.  Nevertheless, I disagree with the argument that the election suggests the demographics have shifted against the Republicans in regard to the population growth of Hispanics because they are not monolithic.  For example, Cubans vote Republican, while immigration is not an issue for Puerto Ricans, who are not immigrants, but American citizens.  Hispanics are generally pro-life and often establish small businesses, which makes them a natural constituency for conservative Republicans.

I also am not as certain as other disheartened conservatives that the tipping point has been reached whereby more voters receive money from the federal government than pay income taxes, which makes the majority willing to elect candidates who would increase income taxes on the minority who pays them.  Some of the 47% who currently do not pay a net amount of federal income taxes (in addition to various other federal taxes that nearly everyone pays) are veterans who receive benefits they earned, not “takers.”  Others are retirees or disabled people on Social Security or on Medicare who paid taxes on them on what is presented as a pension/disability insurance program.  They do not think of themselves as takers and disagree with raising taxes on “the makers.”  Even some of the others among the 47% disagree, too, because they aspire to be wealthy instead of opposing the rich out of envy or because they understand basic fiscal and economic matters or at least have common sense.  Nevertheless, the disturbing trend toward a minority paying income taxes is becoming increasingly dangerous for the Republic, as is as the bribing of constituencies through government largesse.

            Another factor in the election result was that Obama appeared slightly more likable and significantly more understanding and compassionate than the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, whom the Democratic campaign demonized with ad hominem arguments, even though these factors are irrelevant in choosing a Chief Executive of a limited federal Republic and Commander in Chief whom few Americans will ever have to work with personally.  Among other factors was the nomination by the Republicans of a candidate whose moderate record, despite his campaign as a conservative, failed to inspire enough conservatives to vote for him, as well as even more documented liberal media bias than usual and numerous election irregularities.  Yet the election was still close.

            Some of the factors in the Obama-Biden win were unique.  For example, the black vote for the Democratic nominee the last two elections for presidential electors was even higher than usual.  There was also the historic factor for other voters that weighed against voting to fire the first black president.  Obama lacked a comprehensive second term platform.  Although it was politically a disadvantage in not inspiring confidence, it was an advantage for him politically in not having to defend a position.  The next Democratic presidential nominee will be expected to have a platform in order to be elected Chief Executive. 

The lack of much of a platform is another reason Obama lacks a mandate.  Few liberal ideas were accepted by the voters, other than the one about taxes, while the Democrats effectively used several conservative arguments that I shall discuss in another upcoming post.

Indeed, Romney’s win of the first candidate debate suggests the conservative message was not rejected by the voters.  Some of his specific proposals are still under consideration by both parties in Congress.  Conservatives may have lost, but conservatism did not lose.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Advice for Conservatives

Conservatives, vote on Tuesday, November 6 for conservative candidates.  Vote not only for presidential and vice presidential electors, but for United States Senate and House of Representatives because the control of not one, but two Branches of government are at stake.

Here in Pennsylvania, there are important elections for Attorney General, Treasurer and Auditor General, as well as state Senate and House.  In other States, there are gubernatorial and state legislative races.  There are also referenda on the ballot in many States.  Even though the States are sovereign, independent political entities responsible for most domestic matters, these offices are often overlooked by voters in the voting booth.

All of these matters merit careful consideration by conservatives.  Choose the most conservative candidate with a realistic chance of winning the election, or at least the one who is least liberal.

In all elections for districts smaller than state-wide, like U.S. House or state legislative races, your vote counts more than in a statewide race because you are among a smaller electorate.  Even in those states that are not competitive for the presidential race, your vote for presidential and vice presidential electors is important in determining the popular mandate, but is even more important in the Congressional and state elections.

           Make plans for you and your family to exercise your privilege to vote and encourage your conservative friends, neighbors and co-workers to cast their ballots.  Fulfill your civic duty and vote morally.  Make sure your vote reflects your intent, especially if you vote by push-button machine.  Vote!

          May God Bless America!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bush “Inherited” a Difficult Situation, Too

          When George W. Bush was inaugurated the 43rd President of the United States, he faced a number of difficulties that we Americans would be well to recall at this time when President Barack Obama and his liberal Democratic supporters frequently complain about the challenges that he faced at the time he took office.

            Beginning before Bush took office in 2001, there was an economic downturn, brought on by the bursting of the technology bubble.  The downturn was exacerbated by a series of accounting scandals that necessitated legislation to deter such abuse, which he signed into law.  Despite budget surpluses that were projected to be temporary, federal debt, which was the accumulation of the annual deficits since the 1830s, exceeded $5 trillion at Bush’s inauguration.  The economic downturn threatened to increase the debt by decreasing revenue as people earned less and paid less in taxes.  After entitlements, the interest on the debt alone is one of the largest single federal expenditures.  Deficits were expected to return, despite massive cuts to defense and intelligence under the Clinton Administration.  Meanwhile, there was no Medicare prescription drug program, the lack of which incentivized surgery, which is costlier than medicine, and there was no accountability for federal money sent to the States for education.  There was still a marriage tax penalty and a more burdensome inheritance tax than after Bush cut income taxes across the board and decreased the death tax.

            Defense and intelligence had been weakened by the time Bush took office, in the face of repeated terrorist and other militant attacks, until he began to improve defense and intelligence, while there was no missile defense system until he successfully implemented one.  There were thousands more Russian nuclear warheads than after Bush negotiated a mutual reduction of them.  Since before Bush took office, Americans had been under attack not only from Islamist terrorists like al-Qaeda, but from the Baathist regime of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein: Iraq had been firing missiles at Coalition aircraft on a near-daily basis since the last year of the Clinton Administration, in violation of the 1991 cease-fire, while Iraq, along with Afghanistan and Libya were still listed by the State Department as state sponsors of terrorism until those regimes were either removed from power or renounced terrorism.  As a result, there were oil embargoes against Iraq and Libya.  Relations were poor with the largest free state in the world, India, as U.S. sanctions were still in place against it until the 43rd President lifted them and Americans benefited from increased trade and cooperation from India against Islamist terrorism.

            Every president faces challenges when he takes office, some more than others.  The difficulties facing Bush, although by far not the greatest that have ever faced an American Chief Executive, were nonetheless daunting. 

            It is how presidents face these challenges that we historians judge them, as well as how they seize opportunities to implement beneficial policies.  It is worth remembering that Bush’s tax cuts were successful in stimulating prosperity, while his War on Terrorism prevented another attack like those of September 11, 2001.  The challenges he faced necessitated increased federal spending in certain areas, but the prosperity from 2002-2007/8 was reducing the deficit as a percentage of the gross domestic product.  It is also important to consider that Bush also had to overcome a series of misfortunes that occurred during his two terms, in addition to those already mentioned: the most damaging hurricane in American history, a sharp rise in oil prices sparked by increased demand because of global prosperity, and the financial crisis sparked by the bursting of the housing bubble, among others.

The last of these misfortunes threatened a depression which the Bush Administration’s policies helped avert.  The recession was predicted to be brief and mild, like the last two before it.  Indeed, the recession technically ended by the end of the second quarter of 2009, before Obama’s policies were fully in effect.  A number of political observers have noted recently, except for the recession, the overall positive situation as Bush left office. 

Finally, it is necessary and fair to acknowledge that every president, especially one who serves two terms, does some things that everyone recognizes as beneficial, and some things that everyone recognizes as harmful, some things well and some things poorly.  Neither Bush nor Obama are exceptions.  During this election season, when expressions of opinions tend to be exaggerated, it is worth noting the considerable difficulties George W. Bush faced at the time he took office, as well as those that occurred beyond his control during his presidency and his successes in dealing with them, in order better to judge his successor.     

Translating Obamaspeak: “Paying for” Something Means “Raising Taxes”

As during the presidential election campaign in 2008 and during his presidency, Barack Obama has been arguing that United States President George W. Bush and the Congress “spent money” on tax cuts, adding a prescription drug entitlement to Medicaid and two wars without “paying for” them, which he falsely blames for the recession. 

           What Obama means is not that the money was borrowed and not paid for with offsetting spending cuts, as he wants people to think, but simply that taxes were not raised to offset them.  His phrasing is another example of allowing the listener to read into the statement what he wants.  See also my June of 2010 post, The Clintonian Cynicism and Deception of Obama and His Supporters,  Obama wants his “paying for” phrase to be interpreted as “paying the bill,” which makes him seem fiscally responsible.  But what he really means by “paying for” something is raising taxes.  No other federal spending is “paid for,” either, except for those entitlements supported by payroll taxes.

First of all, a tax cut is not an expenditure (i.e. an outlay of money from the Treasury).  Therefore, it does not need to be “paid for.”  Second, the Bush income tax cuts increased revenue, like all other tax cuts (the income tax cuts of Presidents Warren Harding-Calvin Coolidge, John Kennedy-Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan and the capital gains tax cut of Bill Clinton).   Reducing taxes not only allows people to keep more money to spend, but to work or invest more.  If a tax cut resulted in less revenue, then a less misleading expression would be that it is necessary that they be “made up for,” instead of “paid for.”  Nevertheless, tax cuts do not result in less revenue.

Regardless, Bush fulfilled his promise, just as Al Gore and the Congressional Democrats had made, to return the $200 billion surplus to the taxpayers.  Eliminating a surplus balances a budget as much as eliminating a deficit does.  Indeed, large surpluses are harmful to the economy because they result from overtaxation.  Obama retained all of Bush’s income tax cuts and has proposed to continue the middle class tax cuts.  Thus, he is blaming the deficit on tax cuts for wealthy and small businesses alone, despite the prosperity during the 2000s (which he wants everyone to forget).

It is important to note that although the annual budget was in surplus, the debt that had accumulated since the 1830s was over $5 trillion when Bush took office.  After entitlements, the interest on the debt is one of the greatest expenses of the federal government.  The surpluses were projected to be only temporary.  The deficit increased because of the following: Clinton’s cuts of defense and intelligence that Bush had to make up, the increase in federal spending on education and the prescription drug program, and the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, of which Obama was a member.  Indeed, Bush never enjoyed a supermajority of Republicans before then.  Nevertheless, the deficit as a percentage of the gross domestic product was declining because of economic growth.           

Moreover, if deficit spending is as good for the economy, as Obama and his liberal Democratic allies insist, then Bush must have been one of the best presidents for the economy.  If they are being consistent with their long-held Keynesian economic theory, they should credit Bush’s spending for the prosperity of 2003-2008, but they will not because they do not want to even acknowledge that period of economic expansion, lest it draw attention to the benefit of Bush’s tax cuts, which they intend to rescind, in part.  Instead, Obama and his allies blame Bush’s tax cuts for the Panic of 2008, as if they were not followed by several years of prosperity, despite September 11, but then suddenly stopped working.  Therefore, the liberal Democrats now blame deficits for the recession, arguing that deficits cause higher interest rates.  But interest rates reached record low levels under Bush, where they have remained.

As for the Medicare prescription drug program, the Democrats had proposed a prescription drug program that would have cost hundreds of billion dollars more – without any tax increase.  Because drugs are often less expensive than surgery, it is difficult to assess accurately the cost of the current program, which has been less costly than originally projected.  As for the wars, which many of the liberal Democrats supported, The War on Terrorism was beneficial for the economy by preventing another September 11-type attack.  As with the Medicare expansion, they only count one side of the ledger, as they also ignore the stimulative effect of war and post-war reconstruction, as well as the end of the oil embargoes on Iraq and Libya.  Obama singled out the wars for blame for the deficits and recession only because they are unpopular.