Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron claimed that "budget and deficit reduction" and "fiscally frugal principles and proposals" are "Republican issues." Cameron's claim is belied by Republican support for Bush policies that are far more responsible for current and projected deficits than proposals enacted since President Obama took office, as well as Republican opposition to health care reform legislation that would reduce long-term deficits.
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Cameron says "fiscally frugal principles" are "Republican issues"
From the January 27 edition of Fox News' The Fox Report with Shepard Smith:
CAMERON: Listen, they know that the polls are favoring them and that history suggests they're going to pick up seats in this election year. But they do recognize that one of the complaints of the electorate is that they don't want the opposition to sort of be just obstructionist. And so Republicans have to be at least looking as though they're ready to play to a bipartisan tone in this election year.
And one of the places that they're already doing that, frankly, is when it comes to the budget and deficit reduction. You've got John McCain, the former Republican presidential candidate of '08, now working with Evan Bayh, the centrist from Indiana -- a Democrat -- on exactly that: fiscally frugal principles and proposals. And Claire McCaskill, a liberal Democrat from Missouri, is now working with Jeff Sessions, a conservative Republican from Alabama, on that sort of stuff. Fiscally responsible things. And it's worth noting, Shep, that these are Republican issues that they are now sort of setting the tone on.
The GOP has the opportunity only with 41 seats to make the president engage with them. It's not -- it's far from a majority, but with 41, they get listened to. [The Fox Report, 1/27/10]
FACT: GOP supported Bush policies that are largely responsible for turning surplus into deficits
Fiscal analyses: Bush policies supported by GOP explain much of current and projected deficits. Cameron's claim advances the myth that Republicans are more fiscally responsible than Democrats. The claim completely absolves Republicans from responsibility for current and future deficits, despite the fact that economists including Paul Krugman and Dean Baker have noted that the Bush tax cuts -- supported by Republicans -- added "more than $2 trillion in debt" and the Iraq war "has cost at least $700 billion." In a December 2009 analysis, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote, "In fact, the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic downturn together explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years."
FACT: GOP opposes health care reform that would decrease long-term deficits
CBO: Health care reform will reduce deficits by more than $100 billion through 2019. In portraying Republicans as more concerned with fiscal discipline than Democrats, Cameron made no mention of GOP opposition to health care reform legislation. The most recent Congressional Budget Office analyses of the health care reform bills estimate that the legislation would actually reduce deficits by more than $100 billion through 2019 and would continue to reduce deficits in the subsequent decade.
FACT: Majority of 2009 deficit is attributed to Bush policies
$1.2 trillion of $1.4 trillion deficit was already projected before Bush left office. The CBO projected on January 7, 2009, that, including spending authorized under the Bush administration for the Troubled Asset Relief Program TARP and government takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the deficit would total $1.2 trillion. According to the CBO, the actual FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion.