Borrow and Spend Republicans

Everybody take a look at the chart at James Fallows’s blog. Then email the post to everyone you know who is stupid enough to believe that Republicans are better at balancing budgets than Democrats.

The chart shows how much the federal debt grew, or shrank, as a share of gross domestic product during each of the last several presidential administrations. In other words, it shows when the economy was growing faster than federal debt and also when federal debt was growing faster than the economy. It also shows the average annual rate of growth or reduction during that administration.

To encapsulate, the federal debt shrank as a share pf GDP during the administrations of presidents Truman, Eisehnhower, Kennedy/Johnson, Nixon/Ford, Carter, and Clinton. It grew during the administrations of presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Ezra Klein argues that this phenomenon isn’t so much a result of policy but of recession. “Basically, deficits happen when recessions happen. Anytime GDP shrinks, deficits explode,” he says. And he has data to back that up. Still, part of the Myth of Saint Ronald of Blessed Memory was that the Reagan economy grew robustly, but all the data say otherwise (which is how I personally remember it). And is it really a coincidence that the economy slows during the administrations of right-wing “Reaganomic” Republican presidents?


In other news — Charlie Rangel is busted.

18 thoughts on “Borrow and Spend Republicans

  1. Some random thoughts:
    ‘Charts? You wanna show me charts?!? We don’ need no steeeeeenkin’ charts!’

    Facts? What are facts, but speed-bumps for the faithful on their road to belief?

    After listening to Rush and watching FOX, if you held conservatives noses to the huge economic turd’s the Bush Administration left us, they’d smell roses in that perfume and ask if they could buy some.

    The rest of the world must be sitting around and wondering if the flouride we put in the water to harden our teeth 1/2 a Century ago, didn’t harden our hearts and minds instead…

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: At least Rome had the excuse of lead in their water for the collapse of their empire.

  2. IF .. and I emphasize If this graphic gets any coverage in the next two years, it could significantly change the trajectory of American politics. Kudos to the author who did the research, Chuck Spinney, and the bloggers who are providing exposure for it.

    Nobody listens to what I say, so it’s for my entertainment, I guess. The DNC and every liberal organization that buys air time needs to run this graphic over and over and over. Rush Limbaugh started his career of spinning lies decades ago – and people believe him. We are going to have to pound away relentlessly with the TRUTH from the blogs to the floor of the Senate until any voter who doesn’t have his head up some orifice KNOWS this graphic.

  3. Off Topic – I am surprised you haven’t commented in either blog on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. I am curious what your take is, Maha.

    • Off Topic – I am surprised you haven’t commented in either blog on the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. I am curious what your take is, Maha.

      I didn’t comment on the other blog because it’s not a primarily Buddhist news story. Certainly I’m glad Aung San Suu Kyi is not under house arrest, but the junta has freed her before only to arrest her again on trumped-up charges. She’s in a very precarious position now because her many followers no doubt expect her to lead some kind of opposition to the government, but as soon as she does that the government will probably take her back into custody. She might actually be more effective if she leaves Burma and tries to rally international pressure against the junta, but she may feel she would be abandoning her people if she does that.

  4. “Everybody take a look at the chart at James Fallows’s blog”

    Come on Maha as any dimwitted teabagger or drooling “independent” rube knows the deficits went up under republicant presidents cause they had socialist lefty democratic congresses, well except for Bu$hco II, never mind!

  5. Uncledad – Who submits the proposed budget to the Congress?

    The dimwitted teabaggers and independent rubes know enough to cite the Obama budget plan(s) and rail against he deficits contained. Why are those presidential budgets ‘real’ and the GOP administration budgets not real?

  6. Why are those presidential budgets ‘real’ and the GOP administration budgets not real?

    How the hell am I suppose to know? Your on your own. Hey Doug stop lifting my catchy catch phases. I’m done looking out for them dimwitted, side drooling, low wattage, under educated and unemployed slackers. I’m waiting on my check from the mahablog!

    • I shudder to think what Obama’s first four years will look like.

      If the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are allowed to expire, he’ll probably look pretty good. If not, he won’t.

  7. So Klein argues that ballooning deficts are not due to the Republican presidents’ spending and borrowing, but to the recessions that continually accompany Republican presidents. A difference without a difference. (Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that knife wound didn’t kill him, it was the loss of blood afterward, so the knifer didn’t do it… yeah, that’ll work.)

    • A difference without a difference.

      Yeah, that was my take on it, too. I think Ezra was getting lost in the weeds a bit there.

  8. And more good news! Senator Kyl (who’s thankful his last name only has 3 letters or he wouldn’t be able to spell it) has just spit on Obama and the proposed new SALT treaty. From what I read, Obama’s people met Kyl’s almost 30 times, figuring this was a done deal.
    Let’s see if I have this right – I was a traiterous, treasonous bastard for not wanting an unnecessary war, and organizing protests against it. John Kyl, for no reason he could name (outside of the fact that it was supported by Obama, but even a troglodyte like Kyl isn’t stupid enough to say that), just basically said that the US Senate would not back a strategic nuclear arms limitation treaty negotiated by the President with the Russians, supported by world leaders, the US military, and the US Intelligence Agencies. And he’s what, a patriot?
    Nuclear arms, Senator Kyl. Maybe if I said “nuwkular?” There, is that better?
    Reportedly, after hearing about this, a European leader asked, ‘Are they drinking?’ Yes, they are. They’re drinking Conservative KoolAid – without Jim Jones’ special ingredient, sadly…
    I think Obama and the Democrats should just say they’re against whatever they’re for. If nothing else, it’ll confuse the stupid people on the other side, and might result in some form of governance before they figure it out.

    A treaty limiting NUCLEAR ARMS! A treaty to inspect NUCLEAR ARMS!!

  9. I’m no economist and don’t even pretend to understand how to interpret that chart. My instinct tells me that Bush’s( the decider) numbers are a lot lower than they should be. Maybe it’s because the trillions of dollars that are credited toward positive growth of the GDP during Bush’s administration with the housing bubble growth and Wall street’s alternative paper economy aren’t charged off to compensate for the true reality. What I’m trying to say is the GDP growth figures are inflated with private debt making Bush’s numbers appear lower.

  10. Off-Topic: this is the headline at ThinkProgress:

    Senate Republicans Vote Unanimously Against Bill To Help Guarantee Fair Pay For Women

    How women continue to vote for men who want them to stay second class, I will never understand.

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