Daily Archives: May 9, 2011

The Bush-Obama era of foreign policy

“For those with eyes to see, the daylight between the foreign policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama has been shrinking ever since the current president took the oath of office,” wrote columnist Ross Douthat. “But last week made it official: When the story of America’s post-9/11 wars is written, historians will be obliged to assess the two administrations together, and pass judgment on the Bush-Obama era.”

Tax cuts, recessions main cause of budget shortfall

Though a large majority of Americans blame the nation’s budget problems on wasteful spending, “the biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts,” the Washington Post reported. “Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former President George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue.” Other budget busters include the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which have added $1.3 trillion in new borrowing, and the prescription-drug benefit for Medicare, which added $272 billion. Obama’s economic stimulus plan added $719 billion, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, though much despised, added only $16 billion and may end up paying for itself. “All told, Obama-era choices account for about $1.7 trillion in new debt, according to a separate Washington Post analysis of CBO data over the past decade,” the Post reported. “Bush-era policies, meanwhile, account for more than $7 trillion and are a major contributor to the trillion-dollar annual budget deficits that are dominating the political debate.”

Drought starting to get attention

Good for Gov. Sam Brownback for touring southwest Kansas last week and bringing attention to how the ongoing drought is affecting that region. He said he expects an answer soon to his request that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue a drought disaster declaration for 21 Kansas counties. “We want to have a clear understanding of what’s happening and how the state can assist these communities in the coming months,” Brownback said. The New York Times reported last week on Boise City, Okla., a small town in the western edge of the panhandle that, as of last Tuesday, had gone 222 consecutive days with less than a quarter-inch of rainfall in any single day — the longest dry spell there since record keeping began in 1908.