Mounting Debt Suddenly a Problem

Photograph by Joe Marquette/Bloomberg

Karl Rove, right, and President George W. Bush in this Aug. 13, 2007 file photo.

For Karl Rove, now the debt’s a problem.

Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit co-founded by the former Bush White House political adviser that keeps its donors secret, announced today that it  will spend $7 million attacking President Barack Obama for failing to tackle the growing national debt.

Against a backdrop of a ticking stopwatch, a narrator warns that Obama is adding $4 billion in new debt every day.

Rove, of course, experienced first-hand a sharp increase in the national debt. The day his former boss, George W. Bush, was sworn in as president in 2001, the national debt was $5.7 trillion. When Bush (and Rove) left the White House, the debt had grown to $10.6 trillion, an 86 percent increase, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter” at a meeting of the president’s economic team, according to an account by former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.

On June 1 of this year, the debt was $15.7 trillion, a 48 percent increase over what Obama inherited. And yes, it does grow in mulitbillion-dollar leaps each day.

(You can track the debt day by day yourself at the Treasury’s Web-site.)

Now the deficit matters to Rove and Crossroads.

“While Europe is in the throes of debt-fueled economic crisis, President Obama keeps spending and charging more on the nation’s maxed-out credit cards,” said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS.

While the debt rose under Obama, almost half of it can be attributed to two Bush policies, his tax cuts and deficit-funded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.

For all the talk about the debt, Rove’s group wants to continue all of the Bush tax cuts, as well as eliminate the estate tax on multimillionaires.  Crossroads GPS doesn’t offer any specific spending cuts to pay for these policies.


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