or The Myth of Conservative Republican Fiscal Responsibility
There are all kinds of things that I hear on the political front that, frankly, I get tired of hearing. When I get tired enough of a mantra, I get the itch to start looking up things that will either substantiate or refute the rhetoric.
One of the things that has troubled me has been the assertion that Conservative Republicans are "fiscally responsible" while Liberal Democrats only want to "tax and spend". Its a mantra that's repeated often but, rarely is any proof offered in the discussion. I thought I'd look up the numbers. Numbers are great. They have sources that we can all refer to so that we're all singing from the same sheet, so to speak.
It struck me that the mounting National Debt (as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product) might be a good measure of overall fiscal responsibility. If we're being responsible, then logically the National Debt %GDP should be decreasing during a given administration. On the other hand, if we're being irresponsible that number should be on the rise ... that is to say, as it goes down, we're living more within our means. If it is increasing, we are borrowing and mortgaging the future of the country and of future generations. So, who has done their part to see that we're at least trying to live within our means and who has been on a spending spree?
Conventional wisdom would have it that Republican administrations, being fiscally responsible, would be the administrations that reduced our collective indebtedness while Democrats, who we all KNOW only want to "tax and spend" would be the ones who are increasing our overall debt.
The surprise is that the numbers don't support that proposition.
The graph below outlines which administrations lowered the national Debt as a percentage of GDP and which increased it relative to the previous administration. The Blue columns represent Democrat (sic) administrations between the end of World War Two (1945) and 2009. The Red columns represent Republican administrations.
The pattern becomes clear when you draw a picture of it! Every single Democrat (sic) administration since the Second World War has managed to decrease the National Debt as a percent of GDP while every Republican administration since Nixon's second term (1973-1977) has managed to raise our level of indebtedness - not just by a little - in most cases by a lot - while at the same time telling us they know how to manage money! Sort of like pissing on your head and telling you that its only raining out!
Now, the Tea Party is angry ... and they have every cause to be angry. We're in deep du-du and there's no easy way out. They're angry about the state of our indebtedness. They're angry that they have to pay taxes (though the ones who seem most angry seem to be the ones who pay the least). They're angry at Democrats because they've been told, ever since Reagan, that Democrats "tax and spend" ... and they're gullible enough to believe it without checking the numbers. They're angry with government because they've been told, ever since Reagan, that "government isn't the solution. Government is the problem!" And they've believed it ... without bothering to check the facts.
If they looked at the facts ... where the national financial problems originated ... they would be taring and feathering Republicans instead of inviting them to their rallys. If anyone is responsible for the current debt situation (touted by Republicans as something on the order of $100,000 per household, at this point) its Republicans! Their ideas about "free enterprise" ... which, as a result of their ideas of deregulation is really a free-for-all bordering on piracy have almost sunk our banking industry and have driven the nation into a deep recession.
Then they say that they know how to create jobs. So, I looked at the numbers ... because it seemed to me that when people are unemployed cutting their taxes dose nothing to put food on their tables. I looked at the Jobs Created numbers to see who, historically, might have a better idea of how to create jobs ... because the only way out of this mess is for us to earn our way out ... and the only way to earn our way out is if people - real, everyday people - have jobs.
Again, the Blue columns represent Democrat (sic) administrations while the Red columns represent Republican administrations. You spend a little time studying the chart and figuring out who might have a better idea about creating jobs, how to do it and what it takes! I won't even bother to give you a hint.