In my native language (Romanian) there is an idiom usually used by politicians to blame the previous politicians in power which literally translates to "heavy inheritance" or "weighty inheritance".

It is also used pejoratively by journalists against those politicians which mostly blame the previous ones instead of trying to solve the current problems.

Is there an English idiom to express this idea?

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    Jeremiah 31:29 is relevant if not very colloquial: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' Nov 24 '17 at 14:35
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    I am thinking of an albatross around one's neck, but it would take too long to explain.
    – Mick
    Nov 24 '17 at 14:45
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    @Mick - is this what you are referring to?
    – Alexei
    Nov 24 '17 at 14:47
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    That's the one. I'm not sure if it's what you are looking for.
    – Mick
    Nov 24 '17 at 14:49
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    I’d go with the literal “heavy legacy”. Here are usage examples where the meaning is clearly of negative legacies, political, financial social etc. google.it/…
    – user 66974
    Nov 24 '17 at 15:56

U.S. English has a number of idiomatic expressions that convey the idea of that one or more people acted irresponsibly and passed to their successors the responsibility to put things right. For example, you might say (consistent with 0x0x0's answer),

X partied like there was no tomorrow and left the mess for Y to clean up.

Or you might say

X maxed out the credit cards, and now the bills are coming due.

Or maybe even

The country [or other entity] went to hell in a handbasket, and now there's the devil to pay.

These expressions consist of pairs of idioms that commonly appear by all by themselves ("party like there's no tomorrow," "leave a mess for [someone else] to clean up," "max out the credit cards," "the bills are coming due," "go to hell in a handbasket," "there's the devil to pay"). However, the notion to be expressed has two parts—(1) old leader acts badly, and (2) new leader gets stuck dealing with the consequences—so it having a single idiom capable of handling both ideas is somewhat unusual, it seems to me. That the Romanian idiom can capture both parts in a single expression is quite impressive.

In a way, it's reminiscent of "original sin," which captures both the original error of the progenitor and the burden of inherited fault of the progeny—but I imagine that the Romanian expression is not keen to interpret the fault of the predecessor as fated or irreversible or (especially) as constituting as much a fault in the heir as in the testator.

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    Thanks for the exhaustive answer. I learned a lot of English idioms today. :). I do not know if it is accurate, but Romanian might benefit from Latin when it comes to idioms, as Latin seems very optimized when it comes to expressions: very few words that express much (e.g. carpe diem, homo homini lupus).
    – Alexei
    Nov 26 '17 at 6:14

You might say the new leader has to "clean up [previous leader]'s mess" or they are "walking into the mess left by [previous leader]." As for someone who always blames the previous leader for any problems, you might say they are "passing the buck" but that can be used for anyone they try to pin blame on (not specifically the prior administration).

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