Republicans Are Very, Very Bad For the Deficit

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Robert Samuelson is worried about the deficit. That’s no surprise since he’s always worried about the deficit. But this is a head scratcher:

Let’s concede that higher deficits are one problem that can’t be blamed on President Trump. Since the 1970s and 1980s, Democrats and Republicans alike have evaded the hard questions required to balance the budget.

Why can’t we blame President Trump? Let’s run the tape:

  • Under Jimmy Carter the deficit shrank.
  • Then Ronald Reagan cut taxes on the rich and blew up the deficit.
  • Under Bill Clinton the deficit shrank. In fact, it went away!
  • Then George Bush cut taxes on the rich and blew up the deficit.
  • Under Barack Obama the deficit expanded to tackle the Great Recession and then shrank and stabilized.
  • Then Donald Trump—a totally orthodox Republican in this respect—cut taxes on the rich and blew up the deficit.

Just how long does this cycle have to repeat before Washington centrists finally admit the obvious? I don’t care a lot about the deficit myself, but if I did I’d take a blood oath to never vote for a Republican again.

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate