This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight…
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Happy 40th to the Staggers Rail Act, Which Deregulated and Saved the U.S. Rail Industry

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated American freight rail and saved it from looming oblivion.

At the time of passage, the U.S. economy muddled along amid ongoing malaise, and our rail industry teetered due to decades of overly bureaucratic sclerosis.  Many other domestic U.S. industries had disappeared, and our railroads faced the same fate.  But by passing the Staggers Rail Act, Congress restored a deregulatory approach that in the 1980s allowed other U.S. industries to thrive.  No longer would government determine what services railroads could offer, their rates or their routes, instead restoring greater authority to the railroads themselves based upon cost-efficiency.

Today, U.S. rail flourishes even amid the coronavirus pandemic…[more]

October 13, 2020 • 11:09 PM

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Obama Blames His Record Deficits On Bush. He’s Not Being Honest. Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, February 04 2010
What [President Obama] didn’t bother to tell anyone was that 'change' actually meant taking the Bush deficits and putting them on steroids.

Three years after George W. Bush left office, it will still apparently be all his fault in 2011. 

This week, Barack Obama unveiled his proposed 2011 budget and was forced to acknowledge a record $1.6 trillion deficit for 2010.  Naturally, the increasingly-petulant Obama couldn’t resist his urge to scapegoat Bush in his official announcement: 

“Over the course of the past ten years, the previous administration and previous Congresses created an expensive new drug program, passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy and funded two wars without paying for any of it – all of which was compounded by recession and by rising healthcare costs.  As a result, when I first walked through the door, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.” 

In what is sadly becoming a default habit for Obama, he wasn’t speaking accurately. 

First of all, the 2003 tax cuts reduced rates for all income levels, not just “the wealthy.”  Moreover, to the surprise of liberals who expected the contrary, incoming federal revenues reached an all-time peak following those tax cuts due to the rejuvenated economy. 

Second, Obama seems to have forgotten that his own party has controlled Congress since 2006, over three years ago.  Democrats also controlled the Senate for part of Bush’s first term, after former Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords switched parties. 

Third, it’s not true for Obama to claim that the Bush Administration “funded two wars without paying for any of it.”  As noted by the Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll, spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were already incorporated into Bush era calculations, which now seem miniscule compared to Obama’s record deficits: 

“While Bush did fund the wars through emergency supplementals (not the regular budget process), that spending did not simply vanish.  It is included in the numbers.” 

Fourth, and more fundamentally, Obama isn’t being honest when he claims to have inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from Bush.  Through fiscal year 2008, which officially ended one month before Obama was elected that November, Bush presided over a $459 billion deficit.  That’s fully one trillion dollars below Obama’s first-year deficit alone. 

The following 2009 fiscal year budget, which straddled the Bush and Obama administrations, roughly anticipated a $100 billion deficit increase over fiscal 2008 before the fall financial crisis hit.  In response to that crisis, the Bush Administration and Congress – with the support of then-Senator Obama, it must be noted – added the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the budget, thereby appearing to raise the deficit to approximately $1.3 trillion, which Obama now claims. 

But as noted by Dick Morris, the TARP program was a temporary loan to be repaid by financial institutions, not the type of permanent spending that Obama has added.  Indeed, $500 billion of that $700 billion TARP lending has already been repaid. 

Accordingly, that leaves $800 billion, not $1.3 trillion. 

To that 2009 fiscal year budget (three months of which fell within the Bush Administration, nine months within the Obama Administration), Obama added the failed “stimulus” bill.  That “stimulus” was unlike TARP because it was straightforward spending, rather than a short-term loan to be repaid.  That and Obama’s other 2009 spending increases pushed the deficit up to its final $1.4 trillion total, almost double what he actually inherited from Bush. 

Furthermore, even if Obama really did inherit a $1.3 trillion deficit from Bush, that hardly explains why Obama elected to increase it by over 10% to $1.6 trillion in 2010, or why he adds another $1.3 trillion for 2011 – which itself may be too rosy a forecast. 

After all, this is the man who attacked the Bush deficits and repeatedly promised to scour the federal budget “line-by-line.” 

This is also the man whose one-word campaign mantra was “change.”  What he didn’t bother to tell anyone was that “change” actually meant taking the Bush deficits and putting them on steroids. 

Obama’s continuing habit of scapegoating Bush is unpresidential, petty and certainly not the type of “post-partisanship” that justified his campaign despite not even one full term as a Senator. 

Obama attempted to use the phantom of George W. Bush to pull sinking Democrat candidates from the electoral quicksand in Virginia, New Jersey and then Massachusetts, all to no avail.  From the looks of things, however, Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel will still be employing the same tactic in 2011 as they ramp up for their 2012 reelection campaign. 

It thus appears that nothing short of a 2012 election defeat will bring Team Obama to the realization that the dishonorable “Blame Bush” well to which they curiously keep returning ran dry long ago. 

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following was the first 20th century presidential candidate to call for a Presidential Debate?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"Wait until Scranton hears about this.One of Joe Biden's ways of contrasting himself with President Trump has been to declare the election a battle of Park Avenue values vs. Scranton, Pa., values.Now we learn that Biden has secretly been playing footsie with China.The statement Wednesday night asserting that the former vice president was a willing and eager participant in a family scheme to make millions…[more]
 
 
—Michael Goodwin, New York Post
— Michael Goodwin, New York Post
 
Liberty Poll   

Do you believe you will be better off over the next four years with Joe Biden as president or with Donald Trump as president?