Friday, May 13, 2011

Mitch Daniels’ Economic Incompetence

Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly points out how “bizarre” it is for Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, “a guy who led the Bush/Cheney budget office, to pick fiscal responsibility, of all things, as a signature issue” of his possible Republican presidential run. Benen explains:
It was, after all, 10 years ago when George W. Bush signed his first massive tax-cut bill. At the time, he thanked three people for helping make it happen--Dick Cheney, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, and his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels.

It was that tax-cut package that helped eliminate the massive surplus Bush and Daniels had inherited from the Clinton administration, and began a sea of red ink that, ironically, Daniels is now concerned about.

When asked about this, Daniels tends to blame the end of the dot-com bubble for eliminating Clinton-era surpluses. The argument is utter nonsense, and has been thoroughly debunked.

What’s more, Jamelle Bouie has noted that Daniels “badly underestimated the cost of the Iraq War, offering an estimate of $50 to $60 billion for the initial assault, and a forecast of $17 to $45 billion per year of occupation. At best--if we extend those costs to the present--Daniels was off by 2 and a half trillion dollars.”

In theory, this should be a huge weight dragging down Daniels’ presidential ambitions. The base already doesn’t trust him after his proposed “truce” on social issues, and his credibility on deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility is severely undermined by his Bush administration failures.
The full piece can be found here.

READ MORE:What If an Arab-American Ran for President?” by Justin Elliott (Salon).

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