Sonny vs. Lewis

No, not Sonny Liston and Lennox Lewis. From the AJC’s Jim GallowayGovernor Sonny Perdue and U.S. Representative John Lewis are having a dispute over who is to blame for Georgia’s transportation problems.

Last week, the Obama administration awarded Florida $1.25 billion for a high-speed rail project. North Carolina was handed $525 million.

And Georgia received $750,000.

On Friday evening, Lori Geary of WSB-TV rolled tape in which Lewis was asked why Georgia deserved such pocket change.

“It’s the fault of the leadership in this state,” Lewis said. “We’re so far behind.”

Sonny didn’t like that jab too much. Using his spokesman, Bert Brantley, Sonny threw a right hook of his own:

It’s so funny to me that Congressman Lewis and Congressman Scott are blaming Republicans, when it’s the Democrats that control the White House, the Congress and the agencies making these grants. Too bad they couldn’t use their influence to help our case.

The Governor has seen effective implementation of high speed rail first hand in both Europe and Asia. That’s one reason he’s been so enthusiastic about his support for high speed rail…

High-speed rail is obviously very expensive and we have extensive transportation needs and limited funding. The funding that we have now is essentially already tied up in currently planned projects and maintenance and operations. Governor Perdue has proposed additional transportation funding and high speed rail will be eligible to compete for those new funds as they are approved by the Legislature and the voters.

Not to be outdone, Lewis responded with an uppercut:

“It is a shame and a disgrace that someone in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office would take a cheap partisan shot on an issue that means so much to the people of Georgia. Transportation should be at the top of every elected official’s agenda in Atlanta, and it has been a major focus for me throughout my entire tenure in Congress.

“I have brought back hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding to help solve Georgia’s transportation problems over the years, only to have millions left unused by the state…

“More recently, partly due to my influence and the power of the Democratic majority, the Georgia Department of Transportation was a top recipient of stimulus dollars. GDOT alone received nearly $572 million in stimulus funding, without any Republican support from our delegation and in spite of criticism by the governor. Yet the state only allocates $2 million in its upcoming budget to MARTA, a vital transportation resource which is $160 million in debt….

“I have done my part and will continue to bring federal money home to the people of Atlanta. Now it is time for other responsible officials to do theirs.”

We’ll see if Sonny recoils or comes back for another round. Place your bets! Round 2 could be coming up.


  1. ByteMe says:

    Yes, it is the fault of the Republican “leadership” in this state… just as it was the fault of the Democratic “leadership” in this state in the prior 10 years that brought us to this moment of infrastructure atrophy and oh-so-useful finger-pointing.

  2. kyleinatl says:

    Congressman Lewis makes a good point in his reply, why is the state only throwing a pittance at MARTA? Do they magically expect transportation will improve state-wide if we can’t keep our biggest transit system up and running?

  3. Ramblinwreck says:

    Lewis said: “I have done my part and will continue to bring federal money home to the people of Atlanta. Now it is time for other responsible officials to do theirs.”

    I guess that like all Democrats, and most Republicans, he sees bringing back “federal money” as a good thing and not what has helped push the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

    Another another good reason to replace everyone who thinks like this who can be replaced.

    • polisavvy says:

      I have to agree with you on this one. The give, give, give and spend, spend, spend is exactly what has gotten us into this debacle in the first place. Both parties share EQUAL responsibility. It’s time to tighten the belts. While a high speed rail system would be amazing for Georgia, it’s time people stepped back from the old ways of spending and borrowing to spend some more. They need to figure out how to fix the mess we are in instead of adding more debt. As far as replacing them goes, I’m in favor of there being a change of scenery in D.C. and I am, personally, all for there being term limits.

      • jbf100 says:

        To comment on your side note of term limits, the problem is not the amount of time one serves in Congress, rather it is how we select those who serve in Congress. We need more competitive districts to ensure we get more moderate representatives who can work with the other side. I think an independent/bipartisan commission who apportions districts would help aleviate partisan deadlock.

        • polisavvy says:

          That’s a great idea, jbf100. It would be nice to have the independent/bipartisan commission apportioning the districts (and no chance for gerrymandering).

  4. Progressive Dem says:

    The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman came to Atlanta last year and publicly warned Georgia and Florida they needed to get their act together if they wanted any high speed rail money. Shortly thereafter Florida called a special session of the legislature and voted additional funding for rail. Meanwhile Georgia is at risk for losing an earmark for funding the Lovejoy line because the Perdue administration has never provided any matching funds.

    The feds saw who was willing to play ball and who was sitting their fat butt. Perdue’s transportation policies have been a disaster. He has no credibility when it comes to transportation. He needs to just keep his mouth closed – once he pulls his foot out.

  5. Lone Star Georgian says:

    I’m glad to see at least that the conversation has shifted from whether or not we need to rail to finger pointing over who’s to blame for us not having it.

    The state needs to get on board with trains, and Atlanta needs to pump up the density inside the Perimeter. Any city planner can tell you that low density development is a fiscal loser for any large city. Higher density developments give more bang for the the public buck. Like it or not, that’s fact.

  6. GOPGeorgia says:

    Am I the only one who is seeing the obvious? N.C .and Florida voted for President Obama. Georgia didn’t. Mystery solved.

    • ByteMe says:

      So you’re saying that because of people like you, we’re in for 7 more years of crap sandwiches from the Feds? Gee, thanks.

      Of course, it’s not true, since Ray LaHood did warn us a while back to get our act together or face a lack of Fed funding for transit. And we got over half a billion from the stimulus for other things, which is keeping a lot of teachers and road construction crews going. But you go blame it on Obama instead of yourself, dude. That’s the Republican Party way.

      • GOPGeorgia says:

        I wouldn’t say we are definitely in these sandwiches for 7 more years. Dems may be out of power in the house in November, and 2012 may not be President Obama’s year. We will see.

        By saying that it will be 7 more years because we didn’t pay protection money (vote for him) and not saying until we get our “act together” (whatever that vague term may mean); you are agreeing that President Obama is doing business the Chicago way.

        • ByteMe says:

          Oh, and you’re such an expert on “the Chicago way” perhaps you can figure out why the Georgia Republican way led to getting stiffed by the Feds on rail money. Think hard about the role you played in that.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            My role was being a campaign Chairman for McCain in my county. McCain wasn’t my first choice, or my second choice, but the alternative has doubled the deficit in a year.

            President Obama wants to take the 9/11 prisoners in Gitmo and try them in a courtroom in New York. He wants to try them as criminals in our legal system instead of as enemy combatants. It will be a circus.

            Yep. I’d give up federal funds for a Mag-lev train to oppose that. Every time. My life would be easier if I could just hop on and get to Atlanta in 30 minutes, but the right thing to do is to oppose treating terrorists as criminals.

          • ByteMe says:

            Wow. Let’s slam dunk some BS in your posting:

            The deficit when Obama took office was over $1T. It didn’t double since then. Genius talking point with no basis in fact.

            You are clearly part of the problem if you campaigned for any ticket including Sarah Palin. More Genius!

            And now your failed neo-con philosophy is showing. Yes, let’s just ignore the constitution and hold people hostage indefinitely. Uber-Genius!

            So, yes, you are a proud part of the problem here in Georgia. Any fool who blindly follows along with you and your Party the way you do deserves what they get.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            Three points:

            1.) Let’s see what the Department of the Treasury has to say. According to Tim Geithner, the ’08 deficit was 455 billion and ’09 was 1,417 billion. How are you math skills?


            2.) Now lets look at some great quotes from Vice President Joe Biden:
            “Look, John’s last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.” –Joe Biden, Athens, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2008

            “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.” –Joe Biden, apparently unaware that FDR wasn’t president when the stock market crashed in 1929 and that only experimental TV sets were in use at that time, interview with Katie Couric, Sept. 22, 2008

            Palin may not have been perfect, but I’ll bet she knows how many letters are in the word “jobs.”

            3.) Question for you. Does the constitution apply to citizens of another country in another country? That’s where these people where captured. Do you want the marines reading them their miranda rights? These are prisoners of war, not someone who broke into your house.

            Now I have brought some FACTS and cited sources. I wouldn’t call it genius. I might call it reasonably intellegent. Can you say anything other than spin? Please be specific and cite your sources. The BS I see is coming from you.

          • ByteMe says:

            Sigh. Again, you continue to be “fact-challenged”.

            The 2009 budget is set in 2008… and the spending on everything but the drawn-out (still mostly unspent) stimulus package was already committed before he took office.

            So Joe misspeaks sometimes. Big deal. At least he’s not a quitter or a whiner or a birther or a sociopathic liar …. unlike your St. Sarah. You own the crazy chick; I’ll take the 30-year senator any day.

            As for the question: the constitution applies to everyone on American soil, regardless of origin and regardless of whether that American soil is within the borders or our country or not. Once we have them on our soil, they get governed by our rules. You don’t like the rules, move to a country like Russia. But we’re not in Russia. We are better than that… or at least some of us believe we are.

          • Progressive Dem says:

            The GOP talks a great game about being fiscal conservatives, but the facts don’t bear them out. After WWII the federal deficit was at an all time low when Jimmy Carter left office. Reagan and Bush 41 took the deficit right back up. It took Bill Clinton to create a budget surplus for the first and only time since WWII. Congressional Democrats and Clinton accomplished this by a pay as you go policy. Bush 43 passed the biggest government entitlement since Medicaid and didn’t fund it!!! He also didn’t fund a colossal waste of money and blood in Iraq! Nor did he fund Afghanistan. How is this a record of fiscal conservatism?

            The conservative philosophy of minimum regulation and let the markets (banks in this case) do their thing has led us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. TARP was a bipartisan decision, and a necessary one. The Obama budget for last year had tax cuts for almost every American, unemployment insurance, FDIC insurance and about a third of the Recovery act was for the stimulus programs. These programs saved Georgia’s bacon. Without it, our school system may have collapsed. Without increased government spending, the economy and unemployment would have been worse. Do you have any idea how impossible it is for a small business to get a loan? Business can’t expand without improvements in the capital markets. Meanwhile the GOP caucus is opposed to pay as you go, which the Democrats recently instituted without them. And the GOP voted against the creation of a bi-partisan commission to deal with the structural deficit caused by the entitlements. (Obama created it anyway.) The GOP can not claim to be fiscally conservative.

          • ByteMe says:

            Just to correct one mistake: it wasn’t Clinton and Congressional Democrats, it was Bush I and congressional Democrast who created Pay-Go.


            And it was Bush II and Congressional Republicans who decided that a tax cut for the rich was a better idea.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            Great job on providing your facts, I mean name calling. Senators Obama and Biden voted for the budget in 2008 along with a Dem controlled congress. He liked the stimulus money so much, he wants to spend it again. I hear the echo of a failed line from the left. “It’s all Bushes fault.”

            As for the detainees in gimto, they should be considered unlawful enemy combatants. They were lucky not to be shot. I think you may have failed history and social studies. Example, the 1942 Quirin case. The term unlawful combatant has been used for the past century in legal literature, military manuals and case law[3]. The term “unlawful combatants” was first used in US municipal law in a 1942 United States Supreme Court decision in the case ex parte Quirin.[26] In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the jurisdiction of a U.S. military tribunal over the trial of several German saboteurs in the US. The unlawful enemy combatants are subject to the terms of the fourth Geneva Convention.


            President Carter can be your poster child. Own him and love him. Clinton Surplus? Myth. Prove it. At the end of FY 2001, about $3.3 trillion in debt was held in federal treasuries, and about $5.7 trillion was the total debt, including that existing in trust funds and other government accounts. Look at our National Debt chart and you will see every year during President Clinton’s term, the National Debt was rising. If so, then how can you have a surplus? There may have been projections for a surplus, but it was based on lower spending on military and social security reductions.

            I was not a fan of Medicaid and some of the GOP congressmen nationally were straying from the platform. They deserved to get booted from office. I hope their eventual Republican replacements will learn that lesson well. However, when a country goes to war, it should not be measured by “how much will it cost,” but by “can we afford not to go to war?” Let’s save the debate for if we should have gone to war for another thread.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            I didn’t comment on the last half of your post, because it’s almost a whole different subject: Can the economy improve without government spending? The stimulus bill has done such a great job at keeping us at 8% unemployment. Yes, there are things the federal government can do, but what they have done isn’t working. I liked your quote “The GOP can not claim to be fiscally conservative.” And the Dem party can?

          • ByteMe says:

            Forget it, PD. He’s an apologist for his team. Nothing to see here. No reason to engage. He’s as bad as any sock puppet, just because you know he will be reflexively for his team regardless of what they do.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            I’m trying to debate your statements. I’m providing facts and you are providing name calling. If I am such an apologist, why would I say that the GOP deserved to get booted out?

            To quote another movie with a character based at Gitmo. “You can’t handle the truth!”

          • Progressive Dem says:


            Debt and deficit are two different things. Clinton balanced the budget, he didn’t wipe out the national debt. You can’t begin to eliminate the national debt until you balance the budget. No Republican President since Hoover has come close to balancing a federal budget.

            Here is an example of Washington irresponsibility and passing the buck to somebody else: “However, when a country goes to war, it should not be measured by “how much will it cost,” but by “can we afford not to go to war?” Let’s save the debate for if we should have gone to war for another thread.” First, the issue is paying for the war and the consequences of not paying for it. Bush left it to somebody else. After 9/11, the American public would have paid any price needed to war against our attackers. Bush never asked for a shared sacrifice and he consistenly hid the cost of the war in supplemental budgets. He said let’s cut taxes, conduct the most expensive military actions ever (against somebody who not even responsible for the Al Quida attacks), and told us to go shopping. He passed the buck on Iraq, just like he passed the buck on prescription drugs and no child left behind. His SEC couldn’t even catch Bernie Maddoff. His was the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history.

            The following was published in 2004 by Michael Kinsley. The conclusion is that Democratic presidents have better for the economy than the Reublicans. Read it and weep.

            “Is there a difference between the parties that transcends the differences between the candidates? Is one of the parties, for example, a better steward of the economy? One year won’t tell you much, or even one administration. But surely differences will emerge over half a century or so, if they exist. With that thought, I headed for the Web. Specifically, I went to the charts attached to the President’s Economic Report, released in February. There I downloaded like a madman and then distilled the mess into a few key stats.

            The figures I’m using are from the 43 years 1960 through 2002.This odd stretch of time reflects the years that are included in all of the charts I wanted to use. By doing it this way, I hope to convince you that I didn’t choose the years to skew the results. Because the results are pretty interesting. Maybe presidents have little power over the economy. And we know that they must fight with Congress over the budget. Still, elections are based on the premise that whom you vote for does matter. So let’s at least entertain that assumption for a few minutes.

            It turns out that Democratic presidents have a much better record than Republicans. They win a head-to-head comparison in almost every category. Real growth averaged 4.09 percent in Democratic years, 2.75 percent in Republican years. Unemployment was 6.44 percent on average under Republican presidents and 5.33 percent under Democrats. The federal government spent more under Republicans than Democrats (20.87 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 19.58 percent), and that remains true even if you exclude defense (13.76 for the Democrats; 14.97 for the Republicans).

            What else? Inflation was lower under Democratic presidents (3.81 percent on average, compared with 4.85 percent). And annual deficits took more than twice as much of GDP under Republicans as under Democrats (2.74 percent versus 1.21 percent). Republicans won by a nose on government revenue (i.e., taxes), taking 18.12 percent of GDP compared with 18.39 percent. That, of course, is why they lost on the size of the deficit. Personal income per capita was also a bit higher in Republican years ($16,061) than in Democratic ones ($15,565). But that is because more of the Republican years came later, when the country was more prosperous already.

            There will be many objections to all this, some of them valid. For example, a president can’t fairly be held responsible for the economy from the day he takes office. So let’s give them all a year. That is, let’s allocate each year of an administration to the party that controlled the White House the year before. Guess what. The numbers change, but the bottom-line tally is exactly the same: higher growth, lower unemployment, lower government spending, lower inflation and so on under the Democrats. Lower taxes under the Republicans.

            But maybe we are taking too long a view. The Republican Party considers itself born again in 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president. That’s when Republicans got serious about cutting taxes, reducing the size of government and making the country prosperous. Allegedly. But doing all the same calculations for the years 1982 through 2002, and giving each president’s policies a year to take effect, changes only one result: The Democrats pull ahead of the Republicans on per capita personal income.

            As they say in the brokerage ads, past results are no guarantee of future performance. “

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            I did not read and weep. I read and thought. Let me introduce you to a basic economic theory called the business cycle. There will be times when our economy expands and there will be times when it contracts. As an average, our GDP has grown through these cycles. It can be adjusted for inflation, population, and other factors, but it still grows.

            All of this will come into play regardless of who is President. It’s just a question of timing. The government can do things to prolong an expansion or limit a contraction, but they WILL happen.

            If the United States is so much better of under Dem control why do we have 10% and more unemployment? You realize they don’t count the people not looking for a job or who are working at a McDonalds that should be working at a higher skilled job, right?. You’ve had a supermajority in the senate and control of the house. THANK GOD cap and trade hasn’t passed. I’m happy it looks like we’ve dodged a bullet on single payer with healthcare (insurance) reform.

            Now, to jump into some of your meat and potatoes. All bills (laws) relating to raising taxes and spending come from the President, right? WRONG. They come from the House of Representatives. Keep the years and the stats you had mentioned in place, but instead of looking at who was the President during those times, let’s look at who controlled congress and specifically, the House. In the 1980’s when things didn’t look perfect under President Reagan, what do you think about the job of Tip” O’Neill did as Speaker? In the 1990’s when things were better, who was Speaker? NEWT! Let’s look at the balanced budget you mention. President Clinton wanted all of the spending reductions to take place after he was out of office. Newt stood up to him until there were compromises made. The House even shut down the government to get them.

            YOU SAID: “It took Bill Clinton to create a budget surplus for the first and only time since WWII..” That’s not talking about a balanced budget, so I forgive you in getting your facts wrong. It’s OK to admit that you were wrong. There was no surplus. Say it with me. There was no surplus. LOUDER. There was no surplus!

            There are lies, dad gum lies, and statistics. You have left a lot of variables out of your equations, giving a false premise that Dems are better on the economy than Republicans.

          • ByteMe says:

            Love the way you want to take credit for the ’90’s under Newt, but fail to mention the 2000’s monster deficits under Bush/Lott/DeLay. Typical. #GOPFAIL

          • Progressive Dem says:

            I’m sorry, but you have sipped the Kool-Aid for too long if you can’t stand to believe the facts that Clinton gave W a budget surplus. Here is the link to the OMB historical tables. It shows receipts, outlays, surplus/deficits as a percentage of GDP. In 1999 and 2000 receipts exceeded outlays.

            I presented you with historical evidence using unemployment, gdp, personal income and government spending. The Democratic presidents are more successful than Republicans in almost every measure. These are historical figures over a 40 year period. This isn’t some kind of aberration that can be tied to any single event, or luck.

            You are really stretching your credibility by suggesting that Congress is a more important player in economic policy than the president. Do you really want to argue that Reagan and Bush didn’t get what they wanted from Congress regarding tax policy? Or are you saying Tip O’Neil deserves credit/blame for the Reagan tax cuts? Nobody seriously believes that the House is the dominant branch in determining budget, fiscal and economic policy.

            You also seem to be arguing that government has no influence over the economy. Thanks for writing off the GOP orthodoxy that Reagan’s and Bush’s tax cuts stimulated the economy. And if business cycles are going to take their course, why worry about current spending? You can’t have it both ways. If you are going to argue that government can influence the performance of the economy, than you must compare the performance of the economy under different presidents. Presidents are the leaders and single most important office in the government. They set the course and direction and lead the country. Under a variety of measures the economy has performed better under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. So vote your pocketbook, vote Democratic.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            Here is the national debt at the end of each year of Clinton Budgets: (T = trillion, B – billion)

            Year Year
            Ending National Debt Deficit
            FY1993 09/30/1993 $4.411488 T
            FY1994 09/30/1994 $4.692749 T $281.26 B
            FY1995 09/29/1995 $4.973982 T $281.23 B
            FY1996 09/30/1996 $5.224810 T $250.83 B
            FY1997 09/30/1997 $5.413146 T $188.34 B
            FY1998 09/30/1998 $5.526193 T $113.05 B
            FY1999 09/30/1999 $5.656270 T $130.08 B
            FY2000 09/29/2000 $5.674178 T $17.91 B
            FY2001 09/28/2001 $5.807463 T $133.29 B

            Understanding what happened requires understanding two concepts of what makes up the national debt. The national debt is made up of public debt and intergovernmental holdings. The public debt is debt held by the public, normally including things such as treasury bills, savings bonds, and other instruments the public can purchase from the government. Intergovernmental holdings, on the other hand, is when the government borrows money from itself–mostly borrowing money from social security.

            In the last four years of President Clintons term, the public debt went down in each of those four years, but the intergovernmental holdings went up each year by a far greater amount–and, in turn, the total national debt (which is public debt + intergovernmental holdings) went up. Therein lies the discrepancy.

            When it is claimed that President Clinton paid down the national debt, that is patently false- the national debt went up every single year. What President Clinton did do was pay down the public debt–notice that the claimed surplus is relatively close to the decrease in the public debt for those years. But he paid down the public debt by borrowing far more money in the form of intergovernmental holdings (mostly Social Security).

            “Do you really want to argue that Reagan and Bush didn’t get what they wanted from Congress regarding tax policy?” That’s a big YES I DO. President Reagan was a better negotiator than President Bush (and I assume you mean 41.) He did not get everything he wanted and had to cut deals to get what he got. President Bush (41) lost reelection because of a broken promise of “READ MY LIPS, NO NEW TAXES.” He was out to balance the budget and congress backpedaled on a deal with him after he gave into them and signed a tax bill.


            Please explain to all of the new comes to PP how the President starts the process of introducing a bill in the House relating to tax policy. There a little known document called the Constitution that says it doesn’t happen that way.

            If you read what I said, you will notice that I specifically said the government can to things to prolong growth or contracting a recession. Right now, the spending that’s going on is not being spent well and it will have dire consequences in the future, as if the present wasn’t bad enough. For the record, I think President Reagan’s tax cuts are better than sliced bread.


            Still all hot air, no facts. At least PD is putting up some figures.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            I apologize for the layout above….I was trying to copy a table and the margins were too close.

            And “can to things” should have been “can do things.”

          • ByteMe says:

            I lay out facts, you ignore them and claim I call you names for pointing out that you are a sycophant and a shill for the corrupt Republican Party. I’d rather be me. 🙂

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            In this thread alone, you have refered to others as: Quitter, whiner, birther, sociopathic liar, the crazy chick, apologist, sock puppet, sycophant, and hill. No, you don’t like to call people names.

            Your “facts” are only “facts to yourself” unless you can prove them.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            I’m not bothered by it. I am somewhat amused by it. You claim not to be a Dem, but you follow their style. When not able to debate with facts, sling mud and attack the source.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            PD gets points for laying out a good argument. I think I have laid out a good counter agreement and readers can decide. Bytes “facts” are nothing more than unsubstantiated innuendo.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            I’ll quickly prove you wrong on your facts and move on.

            YOU SAID everyone here knows you provide facts. Get all of the posters in this thread to agree to that and I will declare myself wrong. I’ve been wrong before and I will be wrong again. I counted about 16 posters. Fail to do so, and you should declare I am right. Or if I get 1 to agree with me, you should admit you are wrong that everyone here agrees that you provided facts.

          • Progressive Dem says:

            Apparently you still don’t know the difference between national debt (a cumulative figure) and the federal budget surplus/deficit (an annual figure).
            Perhaps you’ll see the light by reading from a US Treasury website:

            What is the difference between the debt and the deficit?
            “The deficit is the fiscal year difference between what the United States Government (Government) takes in from taxes and other revenues, called receipts, and the amount of money the Government spends, called outlays. The items included in the deficit are considered either on-budget or off-budget.”

            “You can think of the total debt as accumulated deficits plus accumulated off-budget surpluses. The on-budget deficits require the U.S. Treasury to borrow money to raise cash needed to keep the Government operating. We borrow the money by selling securities like Treasury bills, notes, bonds and savings bonds to the public. ”

            As I previously stated, “Debt and deficit are two different things. Clinton balanced the budget; he didn’t wipe out the national debt.” The US had a national debt since the Articles of Confederation. Andrew Jackson briefly took it to zero, but that was the only time in history it was at zero. Your buddy Reagan increased the national debt from $700 billion to $3 trillion.

            Some presidents have balanced the annual budget. Since the Great Depression, Truman had budget surpluses in 1947 and 48. Ike in 1951, 57, 58 and 1960. Clinton is the only president to balance the budget since then, which he did in 1999 and 2000. This data is from:

          • Progressive Dem says:


            Okay, so now you are arguing that government does have influence over the economy. Historically, Democratic presidents have produced better results since 1960 than Republicans in terms of gdp, inflation, unemployment and government spending as % of gdp. (Previously presented) And these figures don’t include the disastrous last 4 years of Bush II. And please, for one to argue that Congress is as significant a player in managing the economy as the president is simply laughable. Presidents have to deal with the congress they have and the economic conditions they have. The performance of the economy (gdp, inflation, unemployment, etc.) shows their ability to manage both. Historically Democrats have outperformed Republicans.

            And I was referring to Bush II not Poppy, regarding his ability to get the tax cuts he wanted. By almost every measure Bush’s economic policies were a failure. He has the dubious distinction as the only president in recent history to preside over a decline in income through two terms. The median household income increased during the two terms of Clinton (by 14 per cent), Ronald Reagan (8.1 per cent), and Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford (3.9 per cent). The percentage decline in the median income from 2007 to 2008 is the largest single year fall on record-average families were already worse off in 2007 than they were in 2000! This was after an expanding economy from 2003-2006, and before the economy tanked in 2008! Both the poverty rate and the absolute number f people living in poverty declined under Clinton. Under Bush II both increased. (Hopefully measuring poverty is significant to Republicans, but maybe not.)

            The average annual growth rate in GDP for Bush’s eight years was 2.1%. For Clinton the figure was 4.3%. Carter 3.3%. Reagan was 3.4%. Bush I was 2.1%. Nixon/Ford was 2.8%. For JFK/LBJ the average growth in GDP was 4.8%. Here is the source: Table 1.1.1 at

            To summarize: Clinton had a budget surplus. Presidents have more influence over the economy than Congress. Democratic presidents have outperformed Republican presidents in managing the economy.

            The following are just phony arguments, straw men and BS that you offered: 1)“He (Reagan) did not get everything he wanted and had to cut deals to get what he got.” I was explicitly referring to tax cuts. Show me where he didn’t get what he wanted or wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of his tax cut policies. 2) Your statements that Tip O’Neil, Newt Gingrich, or whoever controlled Congress has as much influence as the President in controlling and managing the economy. This includes your statement that Congress initiates all policy regarding taxes. Yes some member must introduce the bill. Big deal. If the sponsoring Congressman is so important, why are they called the Reagan tax cuts? 3) “If the United States is so much better off under Dem control why do we have 10% and more unemployment?” That is utterly ridiculous as a question or a statement. Do you have any concept to the size of the economy? Obama is one year in, and his policies are just beginning to have an impact. Bush put us in the biggest hole since the Depression. It will take longer to dig out, but it will come around. Unemployment is stabilizing from the free fall it was in. In the month Obama took office, the US was losing over 700,000 per month. We’re losing 150,000 now.

            Before you salivate all over Reagan’s tax cuts, remember that he was the very fortunate beneficiary of world oil prices declining by more than 40% between 1980 and 1983. Those prices fell largely as result of reduced demand and conservation programs that kicked in after the previous 2 OPEC embargoes. I wonder who helped those energy conservation programs along? Think hard

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            Of course I know the difference between the debt and the deficit. To be precise, I said the government has SOME control of what goes on with the economy, but not all control. When faced with a natural disaster, stocks fall regardless of who is in the white house. Do you honestly expect us to think that just because we have President Obama that stocks will not fall for any reason?

            Let’s look at this in another way. First, it was a budget. It was offered in advance of the fiscal year and documenting what they intended to spend. If they over stated what they intended to spend on purpose, of course they would end up with a “balanced” budget. President Clinton told them he wouldn’t sign anything that wasn’t balanced. So they jockeyed some numbers, moved this dollar over to that column and that one over to this column and WHA’DYA’know: The budget balanced.

            However, spending kept going right along and the defect increased.

            In other, shorter words, “Let’s spend lots and lots and lots of money.” “Wait. Let’s only spend lots and lots.” “we have money left over because we didn’t spend everything we thought we would? My, aren’t we fiscal conservatives.”

            There are other holes in your theory, but that’s enough for now.

            As I said before, you are not accounting for all of the variables including who controlled the House of representatives and what their roll is.

            Try looking here:

            Section 8 – Powers of Congress

            The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

            To borrow money on the credit of the United States; and so on…

            If you find that laughable, start laughing.

            I also found this interesting

            That part where you state that we are no longer dependent on foreign oil got ME laughing.

        • Progressive Dem says:

          The GOP started pushing the balanced budget amendment since the Contract with America. They got is passed in the House, but failed in the Senate. They lost interest when they had both houses and the White House when Bush was in office. Just like they lost interest in term limits when they gained control of Congress.

          Neither Reagan, Bush or Bush came close to balancing a budget. When the GOP controlled Congress they made no progress. All this indicates the GOP’s platform pledge of a balanced budget is meaningless.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Obvious only in the vision of those comparably stricken with myopic partisanship, GOPGeorgia. NC and Florida, states that have leaned GOP for years, have been actively pursuing passenger rail transportation in a significant way for going on two decades. Georgia conducted numerous studies and developed passenger rail plans in the mid to late-90’s. Georgia has done nothing significant whatsoever toward implementation since 2004 however, coincidentally the time the Georgia GOP bagan running the show. A state unwilling to spend a few of its own millions over the course of a decade to implement commuter rail service with the help of $90,000,000 rail earmark should rightfully expect short shift in when it applies for billions in rail funding.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        Love the connection between Georgia rail transportation and connected to “9/11 prisoners” being tried in New York. We all look forward to you connecting Georgia rail transportation to a Kenyan birth.

        • GOPGeorgia says:


          He asked what part I had to play. I campaigned for McCain and pointed out a big error (IMO) of the President. I don’t think McCain would have made that error. I wasn’t campaigning for McCain to to bring rail transportation to Georgia.

          It looks as if my state senator, Jeff Mullis, has at least been talking about the maglev train. However, I share in your disappointment on the lack of funds from Georgia. This is not a project Georgia can do in it’s own, and I am entitled to my baseless opinion the president Obama isn’t happy with Georgia or Tennessee for not voting for him. I admit I can’t prove it, but you can’t prove I am wrong either.

          As a fiscal conservative, I wonder how long it would take to pay for itself if we did build it?

    • Progressive Dem says:


      I never said we were no longer dependent on foreign oil. Those are your words. Jimmy Carter established a goal at the end of his adminsitration to cap foreign imports to what they were in 1978, to increase domestic production and conserve energy. Too bad Reagan ignored that idea, and symbolicly trashed the solar panels that were on the White House roof.

      Fact Check on Clinton was fair. It concludes he deserves some credit. I particularly liked this section:
      “Clinton’s major contribution was pushing through the 1993 budget bill, which began to reduce what had become a chronic string of federal deficits. Republicans denounced it as the “largest tax increase in history,” though in fact it was not a record and also contained some cuts in projected spending. Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich predicted: “The tax increase will kill jobs and lead to a recession, and the recession will force people off of work and onto unemployment and will actually increase the deficit.” But just the opposite happened. Fears of inflation waned and interest rates fell, making money cheaper to borrow for homes, cars and investment. What had been a slow economic recovery turned into a roaring boom, bringing in so much unanticipated tax revenue from rising incomes and stock-market gains that the government actually was running record surpluses by the time Clinton left office.”

      Two things to notice in that quote: “Clinton’s major contribution was pushing through the 1993 budget bill”. That underscores my contention of who leads fiscal and budget policy. The second
      point shows the government running surpluses.

      We might both agree that government spends too much money and private markets are the best way to produce and distribute goods and services. However fiscal conservatism in government starts with a balanced budget. That’s the minimum threshold. If an executive or party can’t do that, they’ve got no credibility as fiscal conservatives. I’m not claiming the Democrats are fiscal conservatives, but the GOP is just as far away from that description if not further. Clinton desrves credit as FactCheck says for stimulating the economy and balancing the budget.

      • GOPGeorgia says:

        I would agree that government spends too much money and private markets are the best way to produce and distribute goods and services. I won’t speak for you, but it seems as if you are that camp.

        Also from fact check: “Certainly Clinton deserves some credit for that remarkable economic growth, but just as certainly he can’t claim all the credit. How much he deserves is a matter of opinion that will probably be debated for years to come. By the time he left office, the economy was slowing rapidly, and it slipped into recession in March 2001, just weeks after George W. Bush was sworn in.”

        So Clinton’s policies were so great, they helped start a recession. (Going by your logic. Going by mine, it would have happened eventually.)

        “However fiscal conservatism in government starts with a balanced budget. That’s the minimum threshold. If an executive or party can’t do that,….”

        From the GOP national platform of 2008:

        “We favor adoption of the Balanced Budget Amendment to require a balanced federal budget except in time of war.”

        The GOP has sent people to Washington who did not adhere to the platform and we lost control of congress, deservedly so. I hope the next time we take contro,l they will follow the platform better.

        By contrast, I found this nugget in the Dem party platform. However saying one thing and doing another, they wouldn’t let that become party of the health care bill that was proposed.

        “Portable Insurance.
        No one should have to worry about losing health coverage if they change or lose their job.”

        I looked through the Dem party platform and could find nothing relating to a balanced budget.

        If the Dem party is such a leader on fiscal responsibility, let them introduce a balanced budget amendment and dare the Republicans not to vote for it. It would pass with Republican support. However the Dems would do what they did before; say they would spend money that would reach they stars and only spend enough money to hit the moon.

  7. Progressive Dem says:

    The “Chicago way”. As if Chicago was a terrible place. It happens to be a great city, and well managed by the current mayor. And it isn’t exactly like Chicago has a lock on corruption.

    Look no further than your Gold Dome to see the Speaker of the House sponsoring a bill for his girlfriend lobbyst. Or our Insurance Commissioner and leading GOP contender for governor accused of shaking down the companies he regulates for campaign contributions. Or perhaps look at the pious Ralph Reed for his dealing with corrupt lobbyists and gamblers. Or the face-lifted Linda Schrenko who skimmed off the top. Or the miserable Bill Campbell who payed less than his share of taxes. Or Mitch Skadilalis, Pat Swindell, or another half dozen county commisisoners. Is this the “Atlanta way”? With as much home grown corruption as we have, maybe we ought not to be pointing fingers at other cities.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      I will reply with quotes from The Untouchables:

      Capone: You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word

      Capone: One more thing, you have an all out prize fight, you wait until the fight is over, one guy is left standing. And that’s how you know who won.

      Mountie Captain: I do not approve of your methods!
      Ness: Yeah, well… You’re not from Chicago.

      District Attorney: [when the Judge announces the switch of jury] What did you tell him ?
      Ness: I told him, his name is in that ledger.

      Capone: A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.
      Hoods: Team!
      [Capone beats one of the men to death with a baseball bat]

      Ness: Never stop, never stop fighting till the fight is done.
      Capone: What’d you say? What’re you saying?
      Ness: I said, “Never stop fighting till the fight is done.”
      Capone: What?
      Ness: You heard me, Capone. It’s over.
      Capone: [sneering] Get out, you’re nothing but a lot of talk and a badge.
      Ness: Here endeth the lesson.

      Here endeth the lesson. Ties in nicely with the boxing.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          I will always think of Chicago as the home of Al Capone who dominated the organized crime and Richard J. Daley who dominated the Dem party there for decades.

          There are plenty of good people and bad people from every city, but not many cities were controlled the way Chicago was by Capone and Daley.

          The phrase was made famous by a movie. I can’t help it if the President wants to play his part.

          President Obama liked the movie. As a candidate in June of 2008, he vowed to counter Republican attacks, declaring: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

          If someone wants try to start a phrase “the Atlanta way,” have at it.

          I can name some names they may not be proud of: Tony Rezko, William Ayres, Rev. Wright, Rod Blagojevich, Sen. Burris, Al Capone, Kanye West, and Jerry Springer.

          It was Capone who came up with the phrase “vote early and vote often” for Chicago.

          BTW, I’ve been there (twice) and I liked it.

          • ACConservative says:

            So, to make a point about “Chicago politics” you’re going to quote a movie? Before defending it as “based on a true story” please remember that “based” does not mean it is actually a true story.

            As a Chicago native now permanently migrated south, your assault on the Windy City was atrocious.

            Lets look at the other names you associate with Chicago.
            Tony Rezko- as if every other major city in America doesn’t have a guy with shady real estate dealings and a tendency to slum lord. How many “real estate developers” have we had around here flubbing taxes and rubbing elbows with Sonny’s gang?

            William Ayers- I’ll concede this one to you.

            Rev. Wright- I’m 100% positive that there are preachers in this state (on either side of the ideological isle) that say things just as crazy.

            Blago and Burris – Again, they’ve got dirty hands. But I’d hate to say that its true of politics just about everywhere.

            Al Capone- I don’t know how a mob boss, in an era famous for mob bosses in every major city (New York, Boston, anyone?), applies to your perception of “Chicago politics.” This was an era before major ballot reform all across the country. What if I were to point to grandfather clauses, poll taxes, literacy tests, and the like which “Georgia-style politics” used to control the state (and before you say those were Democrats, they were Dems in party but ideologically VERY conservative)?

            Kanye West- Are you serious? All because this guy bum rushed Taylor Swift on stage you paint Chicago in a negative light? Or is it the rap music? Because if its the rap, I’ll remind you that you live in the “Durrrty Durrty.”

            Jerry Springer- this is where you lost all credibility with me. Jerry Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati. Not Chicago. If you would like to associate an talk-show host with Chicago, try Oprah.

          • GOPGeorgia says:


            OK, we won’t go with based on a true story. Let’s go with facts. Al Capone is very arguably the biggest mob boss in the history of the Untied States. He did what he wanted with bullet and bribes. He hung his hat in the windy city. It was Capone who came up with the phrase “vote early and vote often” for Chicago.

            I’m not assaulting Chicago. As I said, I liked it there. I named those specific names in response to another post. I left out Jesse Jackson the first time. He’s still worth mentioning. I like Michael Jordan, Walter Peyton, Mike Ditka, the Belushi brothers, Harrison Ford, Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, and I’m sure there are others. Not all were born there, but they are associated with Chicago.

            Kanye West is a jerk. It doesn’t have anything to do with rap. Taylor Swift is a factor in that, but it’s not the first time he has ran his mouth. “Bush doesn’t care about black people.” I can get you a lot more stupid quotes from this guy if you need them.

            If you look at the link, you will see that Springer tapes his show in Chicago. You dismissing my point that this person represents Chicago is like if I tried to dismiss you if you mentioned Martha Zoller instead of Herman Cain.

            Springer is bigger than Chicago, but no other talk show host is bigger than Oprah. Both are representatives of the city.


            BTW, I don’t live in the Atl. I live near the mountains and the woods.

            As a former Chicagoan, what do you think of when you hear the phrase “the Chicago way?”

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