Margins Of Error

Von at Obsidian Wings stares at the government's balance sheet:

Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress are creating debts and deficits larger than any other US government in the history of the Republic, under any measure, with the singular exceptions of the governments that got involved in a bet-the-country war.

Conor Friedersdorf chimes in, as does Manzi. Context is needed. That context is a) an inheritance of unprecedented debt accumulated under Bush and Cheney - debt that is largely already built in to the fiscal future Obama is now blamed for (two wars, huge tax cuts and Medicare D); and b) a phenomenally brutal downturn which had the potential to turn into a global depression (a potential that still exists if in milder form). I don't blame Obama for failing to turn all this around in five months, and for running a debt this big right now. I will blame him if he does nothing serious to tackle this in the next year. That does not mean bromides about how healthcare reform will save us all money. It means serious cuts in defense, entitlements and corporate welfare (and perhaps a VAT or a serious gas tax).