Barack Obama got swept into office on a wave of people seeking “hope” and demanding “change”.
Few could articulate the change they were hoping for – or, rather, there were tens of millions of different changes being hoped for – but by jinky, they were gonna get it.
It’s hardly arguable that most of the changes were bad; more Americans have healthcare than before, but they can afford it less.
And against that, the accusation is that the GOP did nothing – which is, of course, the impetus for much of Donald Trump’s popularity.
As Kevin Williamson points out, it’s not true – but you need to have an attention span to see it (emphasis added)
Having been elevated in the 2010 elections and fortified in subsequent elections, congressional Republicans have made a little bit of progress on the deficit, which was reduced from 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 to 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015. In 2007, before the credit crisis and the subsequent recession, it had been about 1.1 percent of GDP — too high for the liking of many deficit hawks, but arguably manageable.
Arguably manageable – and at least moving in the right direction.
Another way to look at the spending problem is deficit compared to revenue, i.e., how much we’re borrowing to finance spending vs. how much we’re taking in. This gives you an idea of what the “stretch” is, what we’d need to cover in additional taxes or reduce through spending cuts to bring expenditures in line with income. In 2010, the deficit was 60 percent of revenue ($1.29 trillion deficit vs. $2.16 trillion revenue), whereas in 2015 the deficit was 13 percent of revenue ($439 billion deficit vs. $3.25 trillion revenue).
The moral of the story?
For those of you who habitually ask what it is that congressional Republicans have accomplished, that’s it: Despite having Barack Obama in the White House and a public that clamored for more benefits and lower taxes, the deficit has been reduced substantially in absolute terms, relative to GDP, relative to the federal budget, and relative to revenue, since the height of Democratic power under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate.
A triumvirate that, Williamson points out, Trump funded.
Could and should the GOP majorities have done more? Perhaps. Changing the course of government is slow, unless you control the entire shootin’ match (like Obama did from ’09 through ’10). That’s intentional; there was a time when conservatives, if nobody else, knew that government was supposed to be slow.
(Which is the biggest reason Obama’s overreaches on immigration, among other topics, are so very dangerous).