In the Arena


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A well-known fiscal policy expert has expressed dismay over the growing deficits presided over by President Obama:

When Mr. Obama was sworn into office the federal deficit for this year stood at $422 billion. At the end of October, it stood at $1.42 trillion.

Horrors! This well-known whiz catalogues the list of Obama abominations–the stumulus package, the auto bailout, the expansion of children’s health insurance (Can you imagine!), $800 billion for the House cap and trade bill, a trillion for health care reform! (no, !!). But, uh, there’s an elision that might give you a hint as to this seer’s identity. Somehow, he’s not mentioned the billions for the bank bailout.


Could that be because his former boss, George W. Bush, initiated the bailout?

Indeed, this is Karl Rove chastizing the Obama Administration for running up the deficit. This is, of course, worse than the pot calling the kettle black. This is the skipper of the Exxon Valdez criticizing the governor of Alaska for the oily waters in its coastal bays. Rove, you may recall, was the mastermind of the Medicare prescription drug plan, which passed Congress without any serious effort to pay for it–and which, experts say, will add $7 trillion to the federal debt by the end of the century. He also was party to an administration that walked into office looking at a budget surplus and then–through a combination of unwarranted and profligate tax cuts and an idiotic (and unpaid for) war in Iraq–created the deficits he’s complaining about.

It’s not surprising that the blinkered extremists of the Wall Street Journal editorial page would print this drivel–any other mainstream op-ed page would require Rove to acknowledge, in passing, at least, his complicity in the current mess–but it remains a scandal, nonetheless, and the sheer craven audacity of it needs to be pointed out, from time to time.