This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Lest we forget where the huge deficits and debt came from…
On August 25, 2001, just seven months after taking office, George W. Bush learned that his budgets had already erased the previous administration’s huge surplus — that was paying off our country’s debt at a rapid rate — and had instead forced the country to start borrowing again. Bush said it was “Incredibly Positive News”
President Bush said today that there was a benefit to the government’s fast-dwindling surplus, declaring that it will create “a fiscal straitjacket for Congress.” He said that was “incredibly positive news” because it would halt the growth of the federal government.
Bush certainly wasn’t the first conservative to think deficits and debt were a good thing. Conservatives had for years advocated a strategy to “starve the beast” by intentionally plunging the country into debt, forcing cutbacks in government oversight of corporate behavior such as regulatory oversight, safety inspections and consumer protections.
In the 1980 campaign for President, Reagan explained his tax cut strategy, after candidate John Anderson called for spending cuts,
“John tells us that first we’ve got to reduce spending before we can reduce taxes,” Ronald Reagan declared in reply to the independent candidate, John Anderson. “Well, if you’ve got a kid that’s extravagant, you can lecture him all you want to about his extravagance. Or you can cut his allowance and achieve the same end much quicker.”
In his two terms Reagan quadrupled the federal debt.