Sen. Blunt Forgets About Wars And Tax Cuts, Blames Obama For Deficit

March 08, 2011 4:42 pm ET — Kate Conway

Conservatives are all in a tizzy over a CBO report that estimates February's budget deficit at $223 billion, a record for monthly accounting. This morning on Fox News, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) was quick to slam the president and congressional Democrats over the deficit numbers. "It didn't happen on the watch of Republicans," he claimed. "It happened when Democrats were in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House." For evidence of Democrats' ineptitude, he asserted that February's monthly deficit was even larger than yearly deficits in the decade prior to Obama's election.

BLUNT: Well it didn't happen on the watch of Republicans. It happened when Democrats were in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House. We still have Democrats in charge of the Senate and the White House, and they're unwilling to even make the entry-level decision of how we get this $1.6 trillion problem under control. For the decade from 1997 to 2007, I don't think the annual deficit was as big as the monthly deficit in February, and of course I'm going to support $61 billion in cuts and that still puts as a trillion and a half away from the goal.


First of all, Blunt's claim isn't true. Annual budget deficits in the 1997-2007 decade ranged as high as 413 billion in 2004, and broke $200 billion in five of those years. According to PolitiFact, Bush's average annual deficit over his eight-year term was $412 billion a year if you include the part of the 2009 deficit already projected when Obama took office.

Moreover, the current monthly deficits are largely due to policies passed under a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican president. In fact, the Bush tax cuts, passed in 2001 and 2003 by GOP majorities in both houses, are the primary cause of projected federal deficits over the next decade. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan add another sizeable chunk, and the economic downturn is responsible for most of the rest:            


Deficits were lower in the 1997-2007 decade because it didn't kick off amidst the reverberations of unsound fiscal decisions, two wars and a major recession. All that happened during that decade, under Republican control.