Democrats scapegoat Republicans for financial mess


Richard Moore

What a surprise. How strange that the Democrats, who voted for most of Bush's 
policies, had no suspicion what was going on. How convenient to blame it all on 
the Republicans. Someone should teach Congress how to use the Internet, so they 
can stay informed.


Original source URL:

Posted on Wed, Dec. 13, 2006

Democrats say they're inheriting a financial mess

By James Rosen
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Democrats, who will shape fiscal policies in the new Congress, 
issued a scathing report Wednesday on the "financial mess" they'll inherit from 
their Republican counterparts next month.

The Democrats called the budget "the fiscal disaster the Republican Congress is 
leaving behind," and Republicans sharply rejected their claims - signals that 
post-election pledges of bipartisan cooperation by leaders of both parties might
have been hollow talk.

"Unlike the Bush administration, which inherited historic budget surpluses when 
it took office in 2001, the Democratic 110th Congress will inherit a Republican 
budget legacy that will not be easy to reverse," said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., 
who'll chair the House Budget Committee.

"Over the last six years, Republicans have created historic budget deficits and 
a mountain of debt," he said.

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., who will head the House Appropriations Committee, said 
there'll be no quick fix.

"Republicans have spent years handing out billions upon billions of dollars in 
tax cuts to millionaires while shortchanging our national policies," Obey said. 
"It is going to take us years to get back on track."

Republican Reps. Jerry Lewis of California, outgoing House appropriations 
chairman, and Jim Nussle of Iowa, exiting House budget chairman, declined to 
comment. But Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who'll be the senior Republican member
of the House Budget Committee, said the Democrats' charges ignored positive 
impacts of income tax reductions championed by President Bush and passed by 
Congress under GOP control.

"The tax cuts helped create more than 6 million new jobs and increased revenues 
flowing into the Treasury, reducing the deficit in the process," Ryan said. "I 
hope this isn't a signal that the Democrats plan on raising taxes."

"The real story is an economy that's come charging back since 2003," said White 
House spokesman Tony Fratto. "We've created 7 million new jobs. We've increased 
tax revenues. The deficit is coming down. There's low inflation, low interest 
rates, and now we're starting to see a return to wage growth."

Fratto said the economy that President Clinton passed on to President Bush was 
founded on phony prosperity.

"We were handed a bubble economy - an equity market that lost $7 trillion in 
value because of what (former Federal Reserve chairman Alan) Greenspan famously 
called `irrational exuberance.' The economy that was left to us is really 
nothing to be proud of."

The current budget deficit of $248 billion is less than last year's deficit of 
$319 billion, according to the White House budget office. The deficit is 1.9 
percent of gross domestic product, Fratto said, below the last 40-year average 
of 2.3 percent of the total economy.

Spratt and Obey also accused Republicans of having "left our Army at its lowest 
state of readiness in decades."

Fratto countered: "We have the best trained and the best prepared and the best 
armed Army in the world, and they're meeting our national security challenges 
every day out there in the field."

© 2006 McClatchy Washington Bureau and wire service sources. All Rights 

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