Thom Hartmann gives us a history lesson on how Reagan and both Bush's raised the federal debt incredibly over their terms and now Republicans are balking at paying for their own borrowing. My pal Hartmann says they are committing financial fraud because Republicans refuse to pay the bills that their own heroes created. Reagan-worship is most dominant these days too. You never hear the press explain to us how the federal debt even got so high in the first place. It's like Obama spent $14 trillion since he took office. Well, Cheney said Reagan proved deficits didn't matter, and conservatives didn't even blink.
The line is not likely to make this week's eulogies to Ronald Reagan, but when Vice President Cheney allegedly declared, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter," he summed up an enduring argument from the former president's economic legacy.
The fiscal shift in the Reagan years was staggering. In January 1981, when Reagan declared the federal budget to be "out of control," the deficit had reached almost $74 billion, the federal debt $930 billion. Within two years, the deficit was $208 billion. The debt by 1988 totaled $2.6 trillion. In those eight years, the United States moved from being the world's largest international creditor to the largest debtor nation.
No outrage, no Tea Party revolts, no FOX News meltdowns, just cheers for the war hawk.
Because of course they agreed. Deficits only matter when it comes to cynical right-wing politics.
And the Villagers lap it up. Andrea Mitchell was talking to Mark Warner and, while giving him a few different scenarios, painted one depicting Nancy Pelosi riding the Democratic Party over the cliff with American flags if she refuses to deal on Social Security and Medicare. And Mark Warner spews the same Republican arguments about how long we're living and other Heritage Foundation nonsense.
OK, we'll use the GOP's favorite analogy: A household. If you charged a half a million dollars at Tiffany's like Gingrich did on a credit line and then, when the bills had to be paid, you refused unless Tiffany's gave you a bigger credit line-plus a 250K watch thrown in, how long do you think you would stay out of jail? Yet that's what the GOP is doing at this point.
Via email from JoeW:
Hartmann: If you run up debt and refuse to pay that is called FRAUD and that is what Republicans are trying to carry out with these budget deficits they handed us.
What our nation is faced with today is a mountain of debt run up mostly by 3 Republican Presidents – Ronald Reagan – and the two Bushes. And now today – that very same Republican Party is saying “no way” to Democrats who just want to pay off that pile of Republican debt. Think about it this way – the Republicans ran up a huge credit card bill, and now they’re refusing to pay for it. They took the good times – the stimulation to the economy from all that spending and the political benefits from all those wars – and now they don’t want to pay for it. If you or I did that with our credit card – and did it intentionally – we’d be in jail.
Here is why we are in debt. Before Reagan took office – our national debt was just under one trillion dollars and our top tax rate was 74%. But Reagan promised the nation good times – so he gave all his rich buddies tax cuts – and then put $2 trillion on the nation’s credit card. Reagan borrowed and spent – in just 8 years – more money than every president of the United States from George Washington to Jimmy Carter – COMBINED. And now the Republicans don’t want to pay the bill for Reagan’s debt.