On his radio show today Rush Limbaugh claimed that Barack Obama is the first trillionaire president is US history. Limbaugh said, “Barack Obama is the first trillionaire. He treats the federal budget as his personally…He uses the federal budget as his own money.” The problem is that it was Ronald Reagan, not Obama who was America’s first trillionaire president.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Limbaugh was trying to make the case the Obama is recklessly spending our tax dollars. He said, “And everybody knows what Obama is doing with the budget and entitlements. This is a small petty political animal who puts his own needs above all the others. He’s a trillionaire. Barack Obama is the first trillionaire in American history. He treats the federal budget as his personally. Now I’m not talking about the Air Force One trips, and the vacations and stuff. He uses the federal budget as his own money. Well look, that’s not the way to put it, but he thinks it’s all his money to spend and do with what he wants. It’s almost, if you wanna rail against the rich, you gotta put Obama at the top of the list there. The first trillionaire lives high off of our tax dollars. Food prices, have you seen whole sale price index? It’s up.”
Obviously, Barack Obama is not really a trillionaire, but even by Limbaugh’s definition of a trillionaire president, Barack Obama wasn’t the first. The first president to propose a trillion dollar budget was Ronald Reagan. According to a January 1987 New York Times article, “Most of the details of the President’s plan for spending $1.02 trillion in the fiscal year 1988 had been disclosed in recent days, and the Democrats who will control both houses of the new Congress were quick to attack when the document was issued this morning.”
The first trillionaire president who spent the taxpayers’ money like it was his own wasn’t Obama, but it was conservative deity, Ronald Reagan. This is the same Ronald Reagan who the right has mythologized as the patron saint of their small government ideology. The political party that has for the better part of three decades been spending our money like it’s their own on things like subsidies for big oil and no bid military contracts is the Republican Party.
The Republican Party has demonstrated for decades that they can’t be trusted to run down to the store and buy a gallon of milk and bring back our change, much less handle the federal budget without leaving generations of future Americans in debt. Conservatives cling to their delusion that they are fiscally responsible like a child hangs on to their blankey. In American history, it has always been the duty of Democratic presidents to clean up the messes that Republicans leave behind.
Rush Limbaugh is incapable of seeing this, but the GOP has long been America’s great fiscal destroyer, and the Democrats are the cleanup crew. Whether it is Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan, or George W. Bush, Democrats must always restore order to the fiscal havoc caused by failed Republican economic ideology. Limbaugh was trying to paint Obama with the reckless spender brush, but the only thing he accomplished was a demonstration of his limitless ability to make a fool out of himself.
Rush Limbaugh is an example of what happens to a person when partisanship gets substituted for facts.