This chart details how Bush policies created three times as much debt as Obama policies - and Bush's two biggest budget boondoggles (the Bush tax cuts and two unfunded wars) EACH added AS MUCH debt at ALL of Obama's policies COMBINED.
So, the Republicans rack up huge amounts of debt, and then when a Democrat is in the White House, they suddenly turn around and claim that the only way to deal with the debt is to cut services and benefits to the poor, elderly, and sick (oh, and to stick it to federal workers - since I am one, I won't forget that), which just happen to be the New Deal and Great Society programs that the Republicans have wanted to get rid of for a while now. Convenient, eh? Oh, and they want to repeal Obama's health care reform because that too helps sick people, and because they refuse to face the reality that the heath care reform law saves money over the long-term.
At this point, I don't know what's the best outcome - yes, a default would be utterly catastrophic, but some of the proposals Obama seems to be entertaining in order to placate the Republicans' absolutely unreasonable demands are also catastrophic.
The Republicans agreed to raise the debt ceiling with NO STRINGS ATTACHED 7 times while George W. Bush was President and a whopping 17 times while Reagan was President - but a Democrat is President and suddenly debt is a more pressing issue than a bad economy and 9.2% unemployment? The agenda here is so blatant, Boehner might as well be wearing neon leggings.
If the Republicans are only willing to raise the debt ceiling if Obama agrees to such a terrible deal, part of me is curious to see what happens if Obama grows enough backbone to just say "no" to the hostage-takers. I mean, if he agrees to the Republicans' demands, he'll end up being a one-term President anyway (since the Republicans' demands will further weaken the economy, and they'll use any Medicare/Social Security cuts against Obama in the 2012 election [just as they did the reductions in Medicare spending in the health care reform act in the 2010 elections] - both of which will be powerful negatives against Obama) - so part of me says he might as well roll the dice with a default and try to take the Republicans down with (or instead of) him.
But all of this is so ridiculous that it simply boggles the mind - after all, the "debt ceiling crisis" could be resolved by Congress in five minutes:
But the Republicans refuse to do that - the temptation to take hostages to advance their anti-New Deal and anti-Great Society agenda is just too great. After all, the public loves Social Security and Medicare, and cutting them is wildly unpopular - so it seems the Republicans are willing to push us to the brink of economic catastrophe in order to gut those programs against the will of the American people.
Sadly, the cynic in me doubts whether the American people will even notice - and when the Democrats get trounced again in 2012, the lesson they'll take from their loss won't be, "We should differentiate ourselves from the Republicans;" instead, they'll (wrongly) think, "we should obviously move even further to the right and be more like the Republicans." And then God help you if you're poor, sick, or old in the USA - it will suck to be you.