Why Don’t We Elect Republicans?


National debt has provoked debate and criticism over the past 30 years but nothing like the tirades and temper tantrums we’ve seen since the beginning of the Obama administration. Launched as a focused attack strategy under the Tea Party movement, the massive US debt and how to deal with it has become one of most ideological, partisan issues in the post-Great Recession political climate pitting supply-siders against Keynesians. Beyond the debate over which will do more for an economy in recovery versus which works more effectively in a healthy economy, the entirety of the argument from one particular side of the aisle simply reeks of hypocrisy.

While it is true under the Obama administration the US has reached the highest levels of national debt in our history but what is not true is his role in its accumulation. Looking back a few years we can examine the share of the debt accrued under past presidents. Prior to Ronald Reagan the combined share of debt under previous administrations amounted to 7%. Between 1981 and through his two terms in office ending in 1989 Reagan’s share of the debt accounted for 13.2%. George Bush Sr. held a 10.5% share while Clinton can be held responsible for 9.8% of the total. George W Bush; primarily due to his two large tax cuts, two unpaid for wars and a prescription drug reform; accrued a whopping 42.7% of the total debt we have now.

President Obama’s share is 16.8% of the total debt the US currently has but there is a major caveat to this, the Great Recession. As a result of the worst economic crisis in 80 years the country lost more than 8 million jobs which represented a massive reduction in revenue. A loss of revenue which resulted in increased debt spending required to pay the country’s previous obligations such as two very large tax breaks, two foreign wars and a prescription drug reform. In addition the government, in an attempt to keep the country from falling into the abyss of a second depression, injected billions more into the economy to prop up large financial institutions, to stimulate the economy and save a faltering auto industry. This spending represented the bulk of the Obama Administration 16.8% share of the current US national debt.

So with some facts tucked into your back pocket, a smidgen of critical thought on your mind and armed with a healthy dose of the big picture go seek out an answer to the question, “How wise it to tempt the current crop of Republicans with the reigns of power?”

Or is it best to wait until they’ve had time to grow up a bit more or at least wait ’til a few of them reach age of consent first.

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7 Comments to “Why Don’t We Elect Republicans?”

  1. And the current batch of something to behold.

  2. waiting for them to grow up is counterproductive, It seems that with every year they become less and less mature instead.

  3. You may want to double check your math…oh, and you forgot about unpaid obligations. The total debt accumulated during the current administration will exceed the combined debt of every previous one. Assuming that the PPACA goes forward as now restructured, adding in those unpaid liabilities and simply holding government growth at 0% (fat chance) would mean that by 2020 the national debt will double again – regardless of which party is in power.

    I hear a lot of “progressives” holler about how shrinking the federal government would be a bad thing. Quite frankly, if we don’t lop off at least HALF (yes, 50%) of it, we’re dooming ourselves – and the world – to an economic calamity the likes of which are too terrible to even contemplate.

    • Ray> Thanks for the comment. You’re right, the accumulated debt, that is the debt totals we see now, under the Obama administration will reach record levels. I did acknowledge that in my post. But it is the portion of that total which falls mostly on Republican administrations, especially GW Bush and Reagan. Obama does take second in that portion comparison, a far second compared to GW BUT as I explained in my post that was due primarily to very unusual circumstances created by the worst economic crisis in 80 years. See the post for more detail. Bush did not have that to deal with but accrued 42.7% of the total we see now.

      I do think I included the “unpaid for obligations. I think I was pretty clear about them. 2 wars, unpaid for Medicare Rx plan and the very large Bush Tax Cuts which virtually every economist has said added enormous amounts to the debt. As far as the health care reform, yes it does cost a lot BUT it also reduces the national debt as the CBO has stated. In addition, repealing it will cost upwards of $230 billion, according, also, to the CBO.

      You speak about cutting the size of government, which I can understand some of that side of the debate. BUT the problem with attacking it right now, cutting to the levels like many on the Right want will only result in a double dip recession or worse. You do not cut spending like that during a recovery. Europe did precisely what the GOP and the tea party want to do and look at all the problems and uncertainty that happened, and is happening over there now. That is the economic calamity we should be worried about.

      Hopefully that clarifies some things and thanks again for commenting.

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