WashPost Lets Tim Kaine Claim Bush Years Had 'Massive Deficits' -- Compared to Obama's?

Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing dropped a very bizarre sentence into his Virginia election roundup on the front page of Wednesday's Metro section. Sen. George Allen won the right to attempt and regain his seat against former Gov. Tim Kaine, and Kaine "quickly made clear how he would run against Allen in their head-to-head matchup." I simply could not believe the audacity of what followed.

“Voters already had the chance to experience George Allen’s vision during his last term in the Senate, which turned record surpluses into massive deficits, added trillions to our debt, and put opportunity for a select few ahead of opportunity for all our businesses and families,” Kaine said in a statement Tuesday night. “George Allen’s approach helped create our economic mess; Virginians can’t afford six more years.”

Let's try a little quick math from the White House charts: the average deficit of the first six Bush years (fiscal 2002 to fiscal 2007) averages out to about $279 billion a year. That is not an exemplary record, and conservatives were unhappy with it. It  simply did not add up to "trillions" -- it never approached two trillion dollars.

But the average deficit since then – from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012, since Jim Webb beat Allen and Kaine became chairman of the Democratic Party under Obama – the annual deficit averages out to roughly $1.115 trillion a year. How can Kaine possibly say "we can't afford to return" to the Allen era? As a matter of public debt, it was clearly a more rational time.

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2012 Congressional Campaigns & Elections Virginia Washington Post Tim Kaine Ben Pershing George Allen
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