Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Economy, Deficit, and Republicans

The Republicans are aiming to take control of Congress this November. They say they will do a better job of reducing the deficit and growing the economy. Their stated approach is to lower taxes and reduce regulation. It is reasonable to ask: What does history say?

The Republicans have controlled the executive and legislative branches simultaneously three times in the last 100 years.

  • The 1920s, which ended in the Great Depression.
  • In the 1950s, but only for two years.
  • And in the 2000s, which ended in the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
Is there reason to believe the Republicans have new ideas and approaches that would lead to something other than another economic collapse? They say no, they will follow exactly the same policies: tax cuts (mostly for the wealthy) and deregulation.

Before 1980 the federal government rarely ran large deficits, the exception being during relatively short wars such as World War II. Then,

  • Republican president Ronald Reagan asked for and received large tax cuts, which were closely followed by the largest peace time deficits in our history. These deficits continued under Republican George H. W. Bush.
  • Democrat Bill Clinton reversed these policies and the deficits were eliminated; handing 2000 election winner Republican George W. Bush a large surplus.
  • Large tax cuts, primarily for the wealthy, were passed and by the time Bush left office in January of 2009 the fiscal year deficit was estimated at $1.2 trillion.
Republican solutions led to huge deficits twice in my lifetime; so do they have a new approach, new ideas? They say no, they will follow exactly the same policies.

If you like economic collapse and huge deficits, by all means vote Republican. That's what they've delivered and they promise more of the same.

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