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What party is more to blame for our national debt?
Our national debt is over $25 trillion or 130% of GDP.
Whenever Republicans complain about this Democrats shoot back: “yOu nO cArE aBOUT DeBt!”
Both parties deserve blame for our national debt, but who more so?
Republicans tend to be more republican and Democrats tend to be more democratic.
Naturally, people want something for free and so who easier to take from than the unborn? Legal limits on majoritarianism reduce politicians’ ability to take and spend, but Democrats generally criticize these limits (sometimes for good reason) from the Supreme Court, electoral college, Senate representation, filibuster, term limits, states' rights, and negative rights.
A wise constitutional limitation 45 states have adopted is a Balanced Budget Amendment because it has helped them keep down their debt.
Red states also have less debt than blue states.
Republicans support a BBA on the federal level, but Democrats have opposed it.
The US national debt was high in 1790 and 1865 because we just came off the back of two Civil Wars. The American Civil War killed more Americans than all wars combined.
What changed so dramatically about our financial system during the 1910s?
You see, another foundational difference between the parties is that Republicans have traditionally been for hard money whereas Democrats have sought to dilute it… first via the “free silver movement” and then with the establishment of the Fed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913.
Republicans differ on the extent to which we’d like to reign in the Fed. I’d like to abolish it altogether whereas Democrats want to continue to expand its power in part because they run it — the ratio of Democrats to Republicans among Fed economists is 10.4 to 1.
The last time the national debt was reduced was 100 years ago, which also just so happens to be the last time Republicans had a unified supermajority.
Since 1933, the Democratic Party has dominated America’s centers of power.
FDR and LBJ with their New Deal and Great Society programs are most responsible for our national debt, which they both passed via a unified Democratic supermajority.
There is discretionary spending and then there is mandatory spending.
FDR and LBJ’s large welfare programs fall under mandatory spending, which includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many smaller programs such as unemployment compensation, student loans, and deposit insurance.
Democrats could’ve appropriately financed these programs when they enacted them, but instead they passed much of the check over to Daddy.
Smart politics. Irresponsible statesmanship.
Mr. Republican can either break his #1 promise to Mrs. America after having told her he wouldn’t raise taxes or he can cut some of these programs, which he has said he’s willing to do via, for example, raising the retirement age and means-testing, but since he shares power with the Demobrats he can’t do it alone.
This isn’t to say any or all of these welfare programs are bad, but let’s be intellectually honest by acknowledging who ordered the spring rolls.
Discretionary spending is government spending that “must be authorized each year.”
It isn’t particularly “discretionary” though because if spending isn’t authorized then spending increases!
This is because even though the government would “shut down” (“non-essential” parts) its workers would still get paid and unpaid contracts would accrue interest.
This gives Democrats a lot of leverage in the budgeting process since their people will get paid no matter what — the two largest federal employee unions endorsed Joe Biden — which explains why Democrats will not so much as accept an across-the-board 1% cut.
The reason public employees are so powerful and virtually impossible to fire is because of public-sector unions (Executive Order 10988) and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which are cornerstones to the Democratic Party’s power. Both should be abolished because they have driven up our public debt, especially as it pertains to public unions on the state and municipal levels.
The Left will sometimes point out that Obama and Biden reduced the deficit.
This is like taking credit for the water receding after a high tide. They’re either an idiot or they think you’re an idiot.
Deficits go up during a large recession and then once the economy recovers it of course comes down regardless of who happens to be sleeping in the White House.
And the people who spew this talking point must really have a tenuous grasp on reality because every year Democrats fight to increase spending higher than whatever increase Republicans have agreed to whether it be in the annual budget or auxiliary legislation like Obamacare, COVID relief, infrastructure, etc.
Overall, Democrats control Big Government, Big Education, Big Media, Big Tech, Big Unions, Big Healthcare, and Big Finance so even when a Republican gets elected president he is still operating as a reactionary force in a leftwing establishment narrative.
“FoX nEws tHo?!!!!!”
If you just listen to Democratic “experts” they will tell you in their own words that they’re pro-deficit spending because they see it as an “investment” — “spend today to save tomorrow.” The Left is angry at Biden not for spending too much, but for spending too little! The Left tends to embrace New Keynesian (mainstream economics) and Modern Monetary Theory schools of economic thought, which are largely pro-debt, whereas the Right tends to embrace the Chicago and Austrian schools of economic thought, which are largely anti-debt.
So the real reason Republican politicians haven’t done a great job at reducing our national debt is because… wait for it… THEY’RE POLITICIANS, which means they can’t stray too far from our pro-debt establishment narrative if they want to stay a politician for very long.
“Ah, but Republicans cut taxes!” Yes, this is our #1 legislative priority.
Philosophically, we believe letting people keep more of their own money doesn’t add to the national debt just as you wouldn’t blame your lack of income for your credit card debt. Would getting a better-paid job help? Yes, but it’s your weekend shopping sprees to Chucky Cheese that is driving you into debt and therefore also hurting your long-term earning potential.
And perhaps Democrats would have a point in blaming Republicans for our ballooning national debt if tax revenues were decreasing, but in fact, they’ve never been higher!
Here’s a fact you won’t get from a quick Google search or your favorite government teacher: America has the most progressive tax code in the OECD and spends more money per capita than virtually any country on Earth: $25K per person.
So if you support increasing overall taxes then I suggest you stop reading this and go back to trying to color within the lines (I believe in you), but if you do acknowledge they’re too high then you can’t blame tax cuts, can you?
Republicans also believe that because taxes are too d*mn high cutting them would increase economic growth, which would therefore help bring down our national debt in the long-term, especially since our government tends to spend a little more than whatever it confiscates so a bit more of less is less.
The strongest arm Democrats have to lean on is in regards to arms where we now spend more than the next 9 countries combined.
But let’s pick this apart...
No defense equals no debt because we’d be no nation.
Virtually every war in American history has been initiated by a Democrat: the War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
When these wars were initiated then even after they end the defense budget doesn’t just drop to pre-war levels, but drops to a higher new normal.
Reagan then increased defense spending to accelerate the end of the Cold War, which by succeeding in his objective enabled Bush and Clinton to cut defense spending, but nonetheless, he does get the blame/credit for this debt.
Defense spending increased again after the deadliest terrorist attack in American history where the War in Afghanistan had unanimous support (98 Yeas, 0 Nays), but nonetheless, it was initiated by a Republican administration so again Republicans get the bulk of responsibility here. Obama though went on to send more troops and money than Bush.
Finally, the Iraq War was very much initiated by Republicans. I’d argue it really started with the Gulf War in 1990 with George H.W. Bush (52 Yeas, 47 Nays) and it just continued on with Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 with George W. Bush (77 Yeas, 23 Nays). With that said, it was only after we liberated Iraq that a majority of Democrats started to turn against it as we discovered their WMD capability was vastly overstated by Saddam himself as well as what our satellite capabilities indicated. The total cost of the war is said to be around $2 trillion, which is about how much Biden’s COVID bill cost.
Since WW2 we’ve used our unprecedented power to provide a security blanket for the whole world, therefore, helping to usher in the greatest peace, wealth, and longevity humanity has ever known. Not too shabby.
It’s about time though our allies shoulder more of this responsibility, but by reducing our military spending then foreign military spending will have to increase to fill the vacuum, which is a downside I’m willing to accept, but I do find it a tad logically inconsistent for the anti-military “we’re all human” crowd to not see how their nationalistic-focus will just lead to more global military spending.
Anyway, US defense spending has been dropping as a percentage of GDP.
The defense budget is roughly 10% — 15% of our federal budget. I think it’s fair to say this spending has largely been bipartisan in that whichever party occupies the White House tends to find a newfound love for some good ol’ fashion democracy spreading and peace dropping. With Biden in the White House, the only dissent that came from sending over $50 billion to Ukraine was from Republicans.
In my analysis, I painted with broad strokes because few things garner unanimity and even in pointing our finger at the other side we’re inevitably pointing back at our own side too for its failure to stop them. With that said, I think I’ve accurately described the broad power plays and how they’ve increased the national debt for better and for worse.
If Democrats were complaining that Republicans don’t care about the debt enough then I’d be 100% on board, but their argument is that Republicans don’t care about the debt either.
And so as the narrative goes… since Republicans don’t care about the debt when “giving” tax cuts to “the rich” then they’re hypocritical in complaining about the debt when Democrats confiscate even more money from productive demographics, which just so happen to disproportionally be Republican, to give to unproductive demographics, which just so happen to disproportionally be Democrat.
I get how this rhetoric works on the uninformed, but if you didn’t know better now you do.
The question is do you have the courage to acknowledge it?
How much does the country that has given you so much have to be destroyed before you stand up for it even if it may come at your own personal expense or ego?
We can agree to disagree on how much the national debt should be a priority, but let's at least start from a place of honesty by saying that the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly responsible for it.
As Bill Buckley once said, “A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”
Unfortunately, I’d say Republican politicians have been yelling, “Less faster,” which is still preferable to “Close your eyes and step on it!”
As we go forward, I suspect political polarization will continue to increase therefore clarifying the differences even more so as Republicans hopefully become even more of the Party of “Stop,” “Less,” and “No” again.
If this is to be so it ultimately depends on you.
If you’ve heretofore spent little time reading history and economics then now is the time to do so because knowledge is power and we need all the power we can get to stop this ship of state from sinking under the weight of her debt obligations.
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