Well the White House finally released their budget numbers today and confirmed what everyone else had been saying all along. King George the Second managed to foul up the budget to an even greater level than King George the First.
In all fairness to George the first, much of that disaster he inherited from the Reagan administration and putting that house in order was a task of Herculean proportions. George the First was not afraid to call what Reagan wanted to do "Voodoo Economics," and while he wasn't entirely sucessful in making things better, at least he managed to not make things much worse.
People can rail at Bill Clinton for being a lecherous philanderer all they want, but when it came to the actual job of making the government run, it came in under budget. That's quite an achievement. In fact, if you look at the federal budget since there was a deficit, you'll find something startling.
The deficit was formally created by FDR. Acting like a good Keynesian economist, he was of the opinion that doing something was better than doing nothing, and so created the CCC, WPA, funded the TVA (this is the acronym potion of the story) and then went on to fight WWII. These are good reasons to run a deficit.
Harry Truman steps in, starts the Cold War, fights an active war in Korea, and the defecit remains largely unchaged during his tenure.
Ike becomes president, and the deficit spikes. Why is not something very clear, he's still fighting the cold war, but doesn't have a hot war to contend with except maybe the civil rights one, so why the deficit goes up in this period is odd, but points to something later on.
Kennedy is next up and in his 1000 days, the deficits run at roughly the same level as Ike's before him. With LBJ we see that same pattern, and not only is the cold war still in full swing, it's gone hot in Vietnam, and he's bankrolling Apollo, one of the most expensive programs in the history of the planet, and does all of that without making the deficit jump all that much.
Nixon is next, and like the man, his budgets are all over the place. One year he's running double LBJ's defecits, the next he's in the black, then he's back up in the red again. Nixon was a bit paranoid and schizophrenic and his budgets reflect that.
Gerry Ford, nice guy, but lets face it, he IS the accidental president.
Carter comes in, looking at a 50 billion dollar deficit and walks out looking at a 50 billion dollar deficit. Unchanged.
Reagan comes in and here is where the disaster begins. Hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars flushed away.
That takes us full circle. What can we take from this? Far from being the party of fiscal responsibilty, the Republican party has been running the country like an 18 year old spoiled child with Daddy's credit card on sale day at the mall.
When Jimmy Carter left office in January of 1981, the national debt was roughly a TRILLION dollars. That's a lot of money. That's now about 1/7th of the total. And no blaming Clinton for this one, he was actually running the country in the black with the deficit decreasing every year he was in office until it went into the black, and then the surplus increasing every year as well!
With that bit of history in mind, who do you trust with your money? Those "tax and spend liberals," or the "hey, my lunch is free because I'm going to make your kids pay for it" conservatives?