Chutzpah: Bachmann Claims There Would Be No Default Crisis Without Obama Policies

July 14, 2011 11:37 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Even though Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is not participating in talks about raising the debt ceiling to avoid a default crisis, she continues to sound off on the debate to boost her presidential campaign. During an interview on Fox News last night, Bachmann put all of the responsibility for the looming crisis on President Obama's shoulders, blaming the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act for pushing the debt to the legal limit.

BACHMANN: Here's the issue. The president doesn't want to have to be confronted with priorities in spending because he has a lot of chutzpah. He spent a trillion dollars on the stimulus. It failed. He spent a trillion-and-a-half every year on deficits. They're his. And, also, Obamacare — trillions of dollars. This is his spending. He's gotta own it and deal with it. [...]

 We wouldn't be in this crisis right now if he wouldn't have spent that trillion on stimulus and a trillion-and-a-half more than he should have on the budget and now trillions more on Obamacare. But for those trillions in spending, Greta, we wouldn't be in this mess that we're in. We'd still be in a bad spot, but nowhere near the hole. That's why — take the shovel out of the president's hand so we don't dig any deeper. That's what will happen if we raise the debt ceiling and why I am adamant against raising the debt ceiling.

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Bachmann's argument is nonsense, plain and simple (including her pronunciation of "chutzpah"). While Bachmann is eager to make the current situation about the president's economic policies, until now, Congress has increased the debt ceiling as a matter of routine — including five times under the Bush administration without the alleged burden of recovery spending and health care reform.

Despite Bachmann's constant efforts to saddle Obama with Bush's legacy of debt, the fact remains that Obama inherited a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion for FY 2009; the combination of new policies and a worse-than-expected downturn bumped that number up to $1.4 trillion. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts, which Bachmann supports and Obama doesn't, remain a leading driver of the deficit. So it's highly dishonest to suggest that Obama's policies are responsible for the default crisis that will ensue if Republicans refuse to address the debt ceiling.    

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