I found this old essay on my computer, updating it a little bit and posting it here for posterity sake.
The “traditional wing” of the Republican party feigns total outrage about the level of debt and the size of our annual deficits. It doesn’t take too much investigation to see that this outrage is baloney, and that their outrage only presents itself when it is a Democrat presiding over the growth in the debt.
Take the parties idolization of Ronald Reagan, for instance. Our national debt stood at $998 billion on September 30, 1981, the first year in that the Reagan administration had say over the budget. To put it in perspective, when faux-conservatives claim that the debt is the highest its ever been, $998 billion was the highest that our debt had been up until that point as well. In fact, every time we’ve looked at it we’ve looked at it, it’s always higher than the year before.
Back to the numbers – the $998 billion we owed on when Reagan took the reigns had grown to $2.857 trillion by the time he exited office. That’s right, Reagan presided over a near tripling of the national debt. And no, he is not demonized for such results, but instead is revered among the Republican pantheon of deities.
In fact, from the beginning of Reagan’s first term to the beginning of Obama’s first term, with Republicans in control of the Oval Office for 20 of the those 28 years, our national debt grew from $998 billion to nearly $12 trillion. The loudest outrage we heard from the Republican party was when they revolted under the first President Bush when he reversed from his “no new taxes” pledge.
Further, during those 28 years, the national debt grew slowest under President Clinton. Not only that, Clinton raised taxes and went on to preside over the one of the largest economic expansions we’ve had in recent years, a fact which thoroughly debunk the Republican Myth that taxes hikes can kill the economy.
Former Vice President Cheney should have received a medal when he mouthed the Republican philosophy as honestly as we’ve ever heard it, when he said that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter”. And that’s correct, in the Republican mind, the only time that deficits matter is when they can be blamed on the other party.