In our last episode, we discussed “debt money” and the fact we can’t possibly
pay off our national debt — no matter how hard we try — until the U.S.
government starts to issue our nation’s money. Today, we’ll look at where this
debt came from. I realize many of you believe it came from President Obama, but
that is not quite right. It’s true Obama is at the helm of the ship of state,
but his orders are continually countermanded by a mutinous crew of Republicans
in Congress, apparently, appallingly, willing to run America’s economy onto the
rocks in order to regain the presidency. Other than an Obama stimulus bill
passed early on, this ship has been locked on the course set by his predecessor,
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So, where did this debt come from? From the founding of our country up
through the Carter administration, our U.S. national debt was about $1 trillion.
After 200 of history, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, two World
Wars, the Great Depression with Franklin Roosevelt’s “wild socialist” spending
policies, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam debacle and the Free Love Hippie era
— from the Minuet to Acid Rock — our national debt was less than $1
Venerated Republican, Ronald Reagan, with his staunchly Republican Senate,
tripled our national debt. Congratulations! After only eight years of revered
Reaganomics, our debt stood at $3 trillion and the United States had made that
epochal swing from the world’s largest creditor nation to the world’s largest
debtor nation. Congratulations again!! I forget, was that the actual goal of the
Republican’s Contract with America? Not to be outdone, Republican successor,
George H.W. Bush, who disparaged Reaganomics as “voodoo economics,” got our debt
to $5 trillion — duplicating eight years of Reagan deficits in a mere four.
Eight years of progressive Democrat Bill Clinton raised it another $1
trillion to $6 trillion. But remember, he dug his way out of the deep budgetary
hole and recession left for him by Bush I, and Clinton’s budgets were actually
running surpluses at the end. Finally, after eight years of Republican Bush II,
with his lock-step, steamroller Republican Congress, we owed an additional $5
trillion. Of course, that’s not counting the two excessively long, expensive and
unnecessary wars that he kept off the books, Enron-style, the
multitrillion-dollar bank bailout mess and that steaming pile of recession he
dumped on Main Street for us taxpayers to clean up. Honk if you remember the
eerily prophetic bumper sticker from the early 2000s: “Drunken Frat Boy Drives
Country into Ditch.”
Here’s a quote to consider: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” That’s
from former Vice President Dick Cheney from November 2002. Cheney is partly
correct; deficits don’t matter politically when corporate media ignore them, but
it does matter to us taxpayers when the Republicans’ credit card bills arrive at
the home of a Democratic president.
Now it’s Obama’s job to try to turn this giant ship around and it’s still
stuck on autopilot. The Bush recession continues, his wars go on, the spending
goes on, the tax-cuts for the rich go on and the debts continue unabated. Of
course, it’s all Obama’s fault.
Pop quiz! Two questions: 1. Now that the tax cuts for the rich have been
extended, will wealthy “job creators” start creating jobs? 2. What stopped them
from creating jobs during the last 10 years that these tax cuts have been
First published in the Daily Republic on July 23, 2011