As a lad, I oft heard my parents warn of the dangers involved in discussing religion or politics in polite company.
Years later, while enjoying association with the best of Britain's experienced and exemplary Foreign Service, I further learned that one might safely speak about only two subjects when in a social gathering; those were "sports" (primarily their "football") and "theatre" (e.g., The Importance of being Earnest).
When once, in a small group enjoying pre-dinner cocktails in Government House, I thoughtlessly brought up a bit of interesting news about politics back in the States; the host immediately apologized, to the entire group, for my lack of consideration, explaining that it was likely due to my "consumption of American Martinis."
These days, back here in the "colonies," it seems there is no subject inappropriate for discussion (usually irrational argument) in a social gathering. Most often, we are subjective and emotional in presenting our opinions, rather than objective, logical, and factual. Consequently, few minds are changed in such heated exchanges, although tenuous social relations are often frayed in the loud, illogical, unstructured, process.
It seems to me that the subject most often hotly argued, in these times, is the impending presidential election. Republicans (conservatives) paint President Obama as a bumbling, Socialist, who's dug our economic pit deeper, rather than trying to fill it in. Liberal Democrats reflex by stating authoritatively that "Obama inherited the economic mess from the Bushes," so it's the Republican's fault. Is that right? Are you prepared to poke holes in that bag of hot air? No, then read on.
Yes, when Mr. Obama took the oath of office, in January of 2009, the nation was already operating with red ink. And "yes," both of the Bushes worked with budget deficits of from 3-4% of the GDP, but President Obama's deficit is double either of theirs (over 8%), and Obama promised "hope and change," which one might reasonably expect to include saving the tanking economy, rather than making it worse.
Obama's first priority should have been balancing the budget, cutting government spending, and reducing both the national and international debts, which now exceed the nation's total output.
For the first two years of his administration, Obama enjoyed control of both houses of Congress; he could then have easily have designed and seen passed a balanced budget bill, and initiated actions to cut pork fat out of government. Instead, the charismatic, personable, energetic, misdirected Socialist devoted himself to creating new government programs involving banking, welfare, businesses, and even research and development (e.g., Solyndra).
New government offices and agencies were created and staffed, while billions of tax dollars were cavalierly used to bail out failed businesses, start risky new ones, or just help his socialist masses pay for college, homes, or other avoidable debts.
In the first year of his administration (with Democratically controlled Senate and House), instead of posting a decrease in spending, Obama's government added to our national debt by $2 trillion; in the second year of Democratic control of government, that debt grew by another $1.7 trillion.
Then, largely because of his demonstrably inept administration, Republican's took over the House of Representatives, and chances of passing any sort of legislation became slim to none. So. the economic course set during Obama's first two years continued: $1.2 trillion added to the deficit in 2011; with a record setting $15.97 trillion reached in July of this year, which is 103 percent of our total national product and services.
Bottom line: Obama inherited a budget destined to put us deeper and deeper in debt, thus eventually destroying the nation. He had two whole years in which to use a Democratically controlled Congress to enact whatever plan he might propose to help save the sinking economy.
He wasted that rare opportunity, choosing instead to work on idealistic, Socialist projects that increased the debt even further. That shameful record is not the Bush's fault: it is the result of our careless election of an inexperienced and incompetent young man, who'd been "educated" primarily in faulty Socialist philosophy.