I’m beginning to think some right-wing Republicans and Tea Party people have some sort of memory loss. I’m not speaking of dementia and that condition, but more of the denial kind.
Let’s take a look at two spans in our history, one of 50 years (1931-1981) and one of 30 years (1981-2011). During the first period, deep in the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt came into office, started up the Works Progress Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Tennessee Valley Authority. He created the Social Security system, then came World War II. After the war came the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, then the Korean and Vietnam wars. Medicare and Medicaid were created. All of that and our national debt in 1981 was $1 trillion.
The next 30 years the Republicans were in the White House 20 of the 30 years. They controlled the House 12 consecutive years, the last six during Bill Clinton’s administration and the first six years of George W. Bush’s administration. Conservatives had a golden opportunity to cap, cut and balance during that time, but what happened?
In 1982 Ronald Reagan, a conservative, became president with a trillion-dollar debt, and when he left eight years later we owed $4 trillion. Next came George H.W. Bush, another conservative, and four years later when he left office we owed $5 trillion. Bill Clinton came in and when he left we still owed $5 trillion, but he had started paying off the national debt and had a workable plan to pay it off in eight years. The Treasury was full of money.
George W. Bush came in, and eight years later we owed more than $10 trillion. The Treasury was empty and he left a budget for the incoming president with a trillion-dollar deficit. The economy he left was just about what FDR faced when he came in. Sounds like history does repeat itself.
I will say President Obama has had a rough going of it, and it isn’t over. As bad as I hate to say this, I was hoping Sen. John McCain and the fantastic Sarah Palin would win the election. The Republicans got us into this mess – let them get us out. Didn’t happen.
By the way, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, a staunch Tea Party leader, was in the House during the aforementioned six years the debt was doubled. I didn’t hear a word from him or the other conservatives who controlled the House and the purse strings.
Man oh man, how things change.