In making his case for re-election in the face of historically high unemployment and sluggish growth, President Obama has a simple and straightforward argument.
Things were terrible when I arrived, he says, thanks to Bush-era policies of tax cuts and deregulation. We stopped the decline, but the ditch was so deep that it will take time to get out. Still, we are making progress, even if it isn’t as fast as everyone would like.
So the last thing we want to do is return to the failed Bush policies that, he says, drove us into the ditch.
That argument appears to be working. More people continue to blame Bush than Obama for the current poor state of affairs, and some surveys show that consumer confidence has recently increased.
But each part of Obama’s argument is based on claims that are not accurate:
• Bush tax cuts and deregulation caused the recession.
At a campaign rally, Obama said Romney is “just churning out the same ideas that we saw in the decade before I took office . . . the same tax cuts and deregulation agenda that helped get us into this mess in the first place.”
It’s a standard Obama talking point. But it’s not true. Bush’s tax cuts did not cause the last recession.