This is really embarrassing. Joe Biden at last night’s vice presidential debate:
And, by the way, they talk about this Great Recession if it fell out of the sky, like, “Oh, my goodness, where did it come from?” It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion-dollar tax cut for the very wealthy. I was there. I voted against them. I said, no, we can’t afford that.
For starters, Joe Biden didn’t fall out of the sky, either. As NBC’s First Read points out:
But looking at Biden’s own Senate votes, he voted for an early version of that Medicare prescription drug coverage. But later, Biden did not support the final Medicare drug benefit that President George W. Bush signed into law.
And the vice president was incorrect when he suggested tonight that he did not support the two wars because the country could “not afford” them. Biden voted for both wars.
But let’s set all that aside for the moment. Is Biden right that Paul Ryan’s and George W. Bush’s deficit spending and tax cuts caused the Great Recession? (Indeed, Obama has said much the same thing.) I’m not aware of an economic theory out there anywhere to support this idea. Keynesian economics, which Obama and Biden seem to support, would say that deficit spending and tax cuts would boost aggregate demand and help economic growth (maybe inflation, too). And how would that cause a financial crisis?
And besides, the Obama administration has added a lot more to the national debt ($5.3 trillion) in four years than the George W. Bush administration ($2 trillion) did in eight. And it wants to add plenty more in a second term.
Also, Obama and Biden supported continuing all the Bush tax cuts in 2010 and still want to keep most of them through at least 2013.
So if not the tax cuts or spending, then what?I suppose Biden could have blamed Bush’s housing policies, but Democrats starting with Bill Clinton were completely on board. Or maybe Biden could have blamed financial deregulation. But that happened in 1999 and was supported by Clinton, too. Or maybe Biden could blame the Bernanke Fed since Bush appointed him in 2006. But Biden’s boss reappointed him in 2010.
So what, really, is Biden (and Obama) talking about?