To keep things in perspective

Double click to enlarge

It’s true enough that the national debt and annual federal budget deficit increased enormously since President Obama was sworn in.  Jonathan Chait explained why in an article in The New Republic.

What changed about the Bush policies that made them more expensive when Obama took office?  What changed is that the economy underwent its deepest crisis since the Great Depression.  Bush inherited a budget that was structurally balanced, which became a large surplus at the peak of the business cycle.  His policies turned it into a budget that was structurally in deficit even at the peak of the business cycle.  And then when the economy collapsed, those structural deficits became massive.

… The business cycle plays a huge role in year-to-year deficits.  Take George H.W. Bush. His policies significantly reduced the deficit. But the deficit ran at extraordinarily high levels under his presidency … .  In reality, what happened is that he presided over a recession and the necessary bailout from the Savings and Loan crisis, which bloated the deficit despite his (eventually successful) efforts to tame it.

via The New Republic.

Also, among recent Presidents, Ronald Reagan is the champion for raising the ceiling on the national government debt.  Notice, too, that the Bill Clinton administration raised the debt ceiling less than the George H.W. Bush administration, despite the elder President Bush only serving one term and Clinton serving two.  Barack Obama’s administration has more than five years to run, but he has a long way to go before he catches up with even his predecessor, let alone Ronald Reagan, in adding to the national debt.

I care more about peace and prosperity than I do about fiscal rectitude, and more about basic Constitutional rights than about anything else.  But if my main concern was the national debt and the federal budget deficit, I would prefer Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: