Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fiscal responsibility

So, the Republicans keep claiming they're the party of fiscal responsibility, and that the Democrats want to spend spend spend without paying for it. Well, let's look at the Federal deficit, the measure of government spending that isn't paid for in some way (all numbers in millions of dollars):

1977, Carter (D) took office:$62,725
1981, Reagan (R) took office:$90,154
1989, Bush (R) took office:$225,093
1993, Clinton (D) took office:$356,858
2001, Bush (R) took office:$133,285
2009, Obama (D) took office:$1,885,104
2011, last reported:$1,228,717

Change in the deficit (red indicates a reduction, black an increase):

ChangePer year
Carter (D)$27,429$6,857
Reagan (R)$143,939$16,867
Bush (R)$121,765$30,441
Clinton (D)$213,573$26,697
Bush (R)$1,751,819$218,977
Obama (D)$656,387$328,194

So, we see massive increases in the deficit under Republican presidents and decreases under Democratic presidents, which argues that it's the Republicans who want to spend without paying for it and Democrats who want to stay within budget. More damning is the rate of change. Clinton cut the deficit at a rate almost equal to what Bush increased it at, and faster than Reagan was increasing it. Bush increased the deficit at a record rate, while Obama has been cutting it 50% faster than Bush increased it.

Conclusion: if you want to balance the budget, put a Democrat in office. If you want to run up massive unpaid bills, elect a Republican.

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