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Issue #4 - the deficit and debt reduction

The founding fathers knew the score. Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1816 letter to John Taylor: "I sincerely believe... that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale."

Republicans once cared about budget deficits. Keynesian academics pegged them as narrow-minded persons who did not understand that the budget could be balanced over the business cycle. Democrats were once the party of big spenders. That style seems to be coming back with Obama although George W. Bush set a bad example. Both parties, then, are to blame for the recent deficits. It took a third-party candidate, Ross Perot, to point out the importance of deficits in 1992.

The progressive Republicans, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower, allowed the debt to rise modestly. Under Lincoln, a wartime President, it rose much more. The two world wars, conducted under Democratic administrations, saw the greatest annual increases in spending. A close second would be the conservative Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush; and the Democratic administration of Barack Obama.

We would want to go back to policies pursued under progressive Republicans when the national government was fiscally responsible and had no wars. Either that or put Madoff in charge of the public purse and have a really big party at our grandkids' expense!

See also:

Four Deformations of the Apocalpyse by David Stockman (President Reagan's budget director)


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