Republicans Are Very, Very Bad For the Deficit

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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.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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