What the article you linked is basically arguing is that had we not spent the money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not passed the Bush tax cuts, we would have extra money today with which to pay for all that increased stimulus-related stuff in 2009/2010. And that's pretty much the extent and entirety of their argument.
But there's a huge gaping flaw with that argument. It attempts to spend money we didn't have. In 2009/2010 we had already committed to and/or spent the money we were and will spend related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What you're suggesting is that even if we didn't buy weapons, we'd still have bought bullets for those weapons.
Huh? I have no idea where you got this. What I meant is that we had already been fighting those wars for 6+ years, and were already committed to spending the money for those wars when Obama took office. Those costs were already on the books before they chose to spend yet more money
. I thought I was very clear about this. Whether you agree with the wars or not is irrelevant. The fact is that we were already fighting them. The money was already being spent.
The choice to spend more money was made knowing we were already spending the money on those wars. That's the point. How the hell did you miss that?
Even with my limited understanding, I know that isn't how it works. You can't do "additional spending" on something you're not doing "spending" on to begin with, sweetheart.
I'll repeat: Huh? Obama does not have a time machine (that I know of anyway). So in 2009, he could not go back in time and undo the decisions to engage in those wars and get the money we spent on them (and had to continue to spend on them) back. It makes no sense to justify some other completely unrelated spending on the basis that if we did have a time machine and could go back in time, we could not commit to spending money on those wars, and thus would have enough money to spend on this new thing we want.
That's insane. You get that, right? Please tell me you get that. They are trying to offset the spending they made by pretending that we never spent other money we already spent and thus "should have had" more money that we did. But we did spend that money. And they knew this. And they choose to spend more money anyway.
Quit defending it. The wars were a bad idea for the economy, and additional spending continues to be a bad idea.
But not all the additional spending the Dems did in 2009/2010 though? Only additional spending on the wars? I've already pointed out that during the three year period between 2007 and 2010, the total defense spending only increased by $140B. The total domestic spending increased by an additional $500B or so during the same time period. So not only is the argument weak, it also really doesn't account for everything. While the writer in Joph's article uses projections to predict future costs, when we look at actual costs we've incurred so far, the numbers just don't add up.
To go back to my home budget example: It would be like if the increased cost for the Boat was $500/month, your hours were cut at your job resulting in a loss of $400/month, you're having to borrow $1200/month on credit to pay your bills, and you're trying to argue that if only you didn't spend $140/month on some other bill, you wouldn't be in the debt problem you're in. Any sane person would conclude that the boat is the largest contributor to the debt, with the loss of revenue coming in second place. Add in the fact that your total salary used to be $2500/month, and is currently dropped to $2100/month, you might conclude that blaming the $140/month bill is purely arbitrary. You could just as easily blame any of the other $2000/month you were spending on other things prior to the whole boat and hours being cut thing if you wanted to.
It's pure cherry picking. And foolish cherry picking at that. Even if you eliminated that $140/month expense, you'd still be falling into debt fast. Yet for some bizarre reason, that's exactly what that article tries to argue. And don't get me started on the whole Bush tax cuts thing. Even if we eliminated the entire set of cuts (for everyone), we're still only talking about around $350B/year. That, combined with revenues coming back up would almost get us back in the ballpark. But the Dems aren't arguing for that. They want only the cuts that apply to those making over $250k/year cut. And that would only net us like $80/year or something (I don't have those numbers off hand, but it's really really tiny relatively speaking). And similarly, while some number crunchers love to play "what if" games with the economic figures, the Dems also aren't proposing magically eliminating the costs associated with the wars either.
So what are they suggesting? Just those tiny tax increases? Is anyone actually seriously thinking that's all they plan and/or need to do if cutting spending is off the table? The Democrats know that in order to cover this with tax increases, those increases would have to be absolutely massive. Not just a small increase on "the rich". And not just some capital gains changes, or eliminating some corporate tax loopholes. None of that will come even remotely close to closing the gap. Deduction eliminations for mortgages over $500k? Still not coming close. They're selling smoke and mirrors and counting on most people not really doing the math and realizing that it's not going to work. I can only assume they're doing this because they know that there is no viable plan that doesn't either involve massive taxes which the public will never support (and which violates their own promises) or massive spending cuts (which they don't want). Thus, they play word games, and try to poke holes in the GOP suggestions, all while knowing that they don't have any real alternative. They're just hoping that they can somehow spin the blame onto the GOP for the mess and not take too big a hit for it.
Which is precisely why we're hearing all these BS arguments about "if only Bush hadn't sent us to war", and "if only Bush hadn't cut taxes". It's an attempt to blame the other guy when you're the one caught with your hand in the cookie jar. It's childish and stupid, but that's all the Dems have at this point.