The Memory Test
In all this talk about fiscal cliffs, “out of control government spending”, sequesters, and threats of government shutdowns over the debt ceiling, there is a self-test you can do using your memory to determine if you are being politically manipulated. Those of us who aren’t and voice our frustration are usually told our thinking is confused and all wrong. But let’s use our memories for a moment. How many times was the debt ceiling raised under George W. Bush? The answer is seven. Why wasn’t there any consternation and calls for government shutdowns or needed deals during any of those unceremoniously raisings of the ceiling then? After Clinton ran balanced budgets, George W. Bush ran deficits throughout his eight years as President but do you remember any talk about how government spending was out of control? Under George W. Bush, the national debt was doubled but were there any commissions created to take care of deficits or any created deals to sequester government spending and raise taxes by a date certain if no “deal” was reached and call it “a fiscal cliff”? And if the media is “liberal” as many claim, why are they playing along? The national debt under Reagan was tripled and after his initial tax cuts that created running deficits, he spent his later years pushing tax increases to try and lessen the deficit gap. Was he then called a “tax and spend liberal”? Why not? It should start to be obvious at some point the general theme of our politics changes depending on who is in the White House rather than facts, figures, or your memory if you check it.
Traditionally, national governments have increased spending in severe economic downturns to put demand back into the economy and people back to work (which is really how you take care of deficits because when people are working, that’s more tax revenue). You can check history, data, and your memory if you are my age. So why are we going against history, data, and memories? Politics and ideology. If we have to fear tax increases on the wealthy because it will “hurt” the economy, then explain why the economy took off under the Clinton administration when it was done. And if government spending hurts the economy, then explain history, data, and the memories of those of us who haven’t forgotten why if you can. And also, explain the changes in narrative depending who is in the White House without it appearing as a political double standard. You can also explain why you think government spending has exploded under Obama since under his administration, federal government spending has increased the least as a percentage since President Eisenhower who was president when I was born. Have a great day and a wonderful New Year and occasionally try the memory test. Maybe one day, we can fix things again.