Bolling Uses Doughnuts To Demonstrate His Lack Of Understanding Of The Deficit

Fox News host Eric Bolling attempted to hide the Bush administration's policies' continuing effect on debt and deficit spending by offering a comparison of spending under Bush and President Obama that fundamental misrepresented how the federal government works.

Purporting to rebut President Obama 's recent statement that high deficit and debt spending was “baked ... into the cake” when he took office, Eric Bolling compared receipts and outlays under Presidents Bush and Obama. Bolling said that tax receipts were about the same under Bush and Obama, We spent two-and-a-half trillion dollars under President Bush, we're spending $3.4 trillion under President Obama. That comes to 309 billion under Bush, 1.31 trillion" under Obama:

But this comparison fundamentally misrepresents how the federal budget and government works. First, much of the spending for 2009, the first year that Bolling counted in Obama's column was actually enacted by Bush.

Second, policies passed under previous administrations don't stop having an effect on spending simply because that president left office. The wars started under Bush did not end the day Obama came into office. The tax cuts passed under Bush are still reducing revenues and Republicans have opposed Obama's attempts to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Furthermore, the Medicare prescription drug law, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by Bush without being paid for, is still on the books and is still not been paid for.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained:

Just two policies dating from the Bush Administration -- tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs. By 2019, we estimate that these two policies will account for almost half -- nearly $10 trillion -- of the $20 trillion in debt that will be owed under current policies. (The Medicare prescription drug benefit enacted in 2003 also will substantially increase deficits and debt, but we are unable to quantify these impacts due to data limitations.) These impacts easily dwarf the stimulus and financial rescues, which will account for less than $2 trillion (less than 10 percent) of the debt at that time. Furthermore, unlike those temporary costs, these inherited policies (especially the tax cuts and the drug benefit) do not fade away as the economy recovers.

Without the economic downturn and the fiscal policies of the previous Administration, the budget would be roughly in balance over the next decade. That would have put the nation on a much sounder footing to address the demographic challenges and the cost pressures in health care that darken the long-run fiscal outlook.

After presenting his fundamentally flawed analysis of deficit spending, Bolling doubled down, trying to show the difference between the two administrations with plates of doughnuts: