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THAT Explanation Fails

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Here’s a letter that I sent on Monday to the New York Times:

According to Paul Krugman, the modern Congress is “ominously dysfunctional” (“A Dangerous Dysfunction [2],” Dec. 21).  (Makes me wonder why he wishes to give it more power.  But I digress….)

Attempting to explain why Congress during the presidency of George W. Bush only appeared to work reasonably well, Mr. Krugman observes that “Mr. Bush was a buy-now-pay-later president” – a fact that somehow gave the Bush-era Congress the façade of being less dysfunctional than it really was.

Mr. Bush was truly a fiscally reckless rascal.  But so, too, is Mr. Obama.  With Uncle Sam’s budget deficit for 2010 projected to be $1.2 trillion, and with Mr. Obama himself predicting budget deficits totaling about $9 trillion over the next decade, the only reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Obama, too, is a buy-now-pay-later president – indeed, even more fiscally reckless than was Mr. Bush.

If a president’s willingness to run up deficits gives Congress the appearance of functionality, Capitol Hill would today appear to be the most collegial, efficient, and functional place in the galaxy.

Donald J. Boudreaux