In his very fine article "United States National Debt: An Analysis of the Presidents Who Are Responsible for the Borrowing", Steve McGourty dissects the National Debt in a readable and understandable format with graphs and figures from US Government data and Microsoft's Encarta Encyclopedia.
This short discussion of that work delves more specifically into why the prevailing conversation in politics has not included the massive run-up of the National Debt by the Republican Presidents starting with Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush.
It is said (over and over again) by Republicans that the Democrat (sic) Party is the party of "Tax and Spend." But no Democrat has ever pointed out that the Republican Party is the party of "Borrow and Blow." Why is that? When the National Debt is reviewed, as done by McGourty, we immediately notice one very critical issue: Namely, that the Republican Presidents have consistently borrowed huge sums of money and spent it on things that have provided no return to the American People. Huge military build ups and wars do not add to the economy, they diminish it.
Reagan believed in the Milton Freidman's Chicago School of Economics credo that giving huge sums of money to the richest people will create financial opportunities to those less fortunate -- the "Trickle-Down" financial model. George H.W. Bush continued this policy and Congress went along with it by de-regulating practically every industry and financial institution in America. Reagan and George I increased the National debt from under one trillion dollars to over 4.4 trillion dollars in their twelve years in power. This is an increase of five hundred percent! Reagan himself tripled the National Debt during his Presidency and rolled up more debt that all other presidents combined!
President Clinton inherited this monumental debt and actually halted the upward movement during his two terms as President. And we all remember with fondness the level of prosperity that we reached under Clinton. "Tax and Spend" is tantamount to "Living within Your Income." And, low and behold... it worked!
George W. Bush has little or no regard for the dire consequences of the Republican philosophy of "Borrow and Blow." He is their greatest cheerleader, in fact. He has taken the "Borrow and Blow" philosophy to a whole new level. Consider his misguided foray into Iraq: 700 Billion Dollars without anything positive to show for it. Truly "Borrow and Blow" in action.
And what about this latest crisis: the Wall Street Bailout--seven hundred billion dollars that will be used to purchase worthless debts created by the greedy Republicans on Wall Street who want all the profit and want to "socialize" the debt. This again is the top-down (or trickle down) philosophy of Milton Freidman that has created the unprecedented National Debt that we are burdened with today. Why is there such and urgency to resolve this crisis immediately? Obviously if you have enough time to review it, you will not agree to these very unfavorable terms from this disgraced President. It is one last effort on W's behalf to provide huge sums of money for his neo-conservative supporters prior to his removal from office. And the urgency is another use of the Fear Card (Smoking gun...Mushroom cloud) that has worked so well in the past to get his war in Iraq.
If "Tax and Spend" is the mantra for the Republican Party against the Democrats, then "Borrow and Blow" should be the answer by Democrats to the Republicans.
Honestly, can you name anything of lasting benefit that any recent Republican President has left us?