The implication, being, of course, that if we just got rid of those mean ol' Bush Tax Cuts, everything would be hunky-dory.
There's just one teeny little problem. On the same CBPP site, there's another report entitled CBO: Ending High-Income Tax Cuts Would Save Almost $1 Trillion. Oddly, this report in in absolute numbers, rather than percent of GDP. It's also over a ten-year period, rather than until just 2019. I just don't know why they won't do these things as apples-to-apples comparisions.
So I hauled out Excel, input the CBO's GDP forecasts and summed up the savings from the CBPP post, and looked at what would happen if we reinstated the Bush tax cuts for everybody making more that $250K a year.
In 2019, that comes out to a debt savings of 3.1% of GDP. Non-trivial, to be sure. But let's re-do that chart, shall we? (I don't have access to the raw data, so I'm doing this free-hand...)
Now, given that Obama has repeatedly said that he wouldn't raise taxes on anybody with an income over $250K, you pretty much have to hold him responsible for everything below the green stuff. Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
If you'd like to blame Bush for the wars, go right ahead. But the last time I checked, Iraq expenditures were way down and Obama's also repeatedly told us how the "real war" was in Afghanistan. Again, whose policy are we following now?
If the President would like to stay stuck on step one of the Three Envelopes Joke, I guess he can do whatever he wants. Personally, I'm leaning toward step three.
UPDATE 8/30/12: Made the second chart a bit prettier.