2017: Whither Democrats?


Of course, and other factors make it a ridiculous graph anyway.

I mean, there’s nothing a president can do that would cause some major shift immediately upon taking office.

And finally, the government doesn’t control GDP. It can effect the economy, but if you are measuring the debt as a percentage of the GDP, then things like recessions matter. In addition to the budget work by the Republican Congress in the second portion of Clinton’s term, the other factor that helped reduce debt as a percentage of GDP is that our economy was growing very quickly at the time.


The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 was sponsored by two Republicans: Conservatives Jack Kemp and William Roth. It cut top marginal tax rates which produced a slump in government revenues and ballooned the deficit. Fiscal conservatism.

Other than irresponsibly cutting top marginal tax rates by 40%?


Yes, it was sponsored by the Republicans. What I meant was that it came from O’Neill because the Democrats controlled the house. Hell, in actuality, they controlled BOTH houses of Congress at the time.


So Republicans drafted a bill which would balloon the deficit while rewarding the wealthy, and Republicans sponsored the bill, and a Republican President signed the bill, and that means those Republicans cared about the deficit and were fiscally responsible, and anyway it’s all Tip O’Neill’s fault for giving them most of what they wanted. Got it.


No, it’s not all the Democrats fault EITHER. But it passed overwhelmingly in a democratically controlled house and Senate, with a margin of 323 to 107 in the house.

Real governance isn’t something done by just one party, and only partisan hacks try to pretend otherwise.


It seems to me that lots of real governance got done from e.g. 1933-1947. There are many periods of single-party rule in American history, and I don’t rule out that it was effective governance whichever party was in power.

My problem is this: Where is the evidence that US Conservatives in the post-war era ever cared for fiscal responsibility, or defined fiscal responsibility as low deficits? It is widely recognized that the Conservative Presidencies have been disasters for the deficit. If you say that doesn’t really count as evidence, and I grant that; and if you say my chart is silly and simplistic, and I grant that too; then where can we look for the evidence?


They literally ran on balancing the budget, and then actually did it.


…and then used that balanced budget as a rationale to cut taxes on the wealthy again, and blew up the budget again. It begins to look like a strategy, wherein what they really care about is cutting taxes on the wealthy.

The Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House in 2001, and they used that power to destroy the budget. These were to a great extent the same politicians who had come to power with Gingrich, right?


So just to be clear, you are moving the goalposts.


Kind of. It’s not hard to understand. He’s saying yes, they campaigned on reducing the deficit, and then they did it, and then those same lawmakers passed large tax cuts that grew the deficit again. So if you’re looking for evidence that they cared about deficits, them campaigning on it and implementing it shouldn’t count because their further actions show they didn’t really care about deficits, it shows that their end goal was to have tax cuts for the rich. They just couldn’t go out and say that on the campaign trail, so deficits become the rallying call they use.

In 2017, they just cut out the middle step, that’s all. They went straight to cutting taxes on the rich, and didn’t pretend to worry about the deficit.


Yes, exactly.

I mean, it’s not like e.g. Grover Norquist hasn’t been perfectly open about this strategy. Cut taxes on the wealthy, which creates a deficit crisis, then respond to that deficit crisis by cutting social services spending, which reduces the deficit, then cut taxes on the wealthy again. Repeat as necessary until you can drown the government in a bathtub.


That’s nonsense. You’re talking about a difference of 8 years. Some of those folks weren’t even the same people

Hell, even if your theory that it was all some super long game to pay for tax cuts, that is actually fiscal conservatism itself, because it actually cares about paying for stuff instead of just cutting taxes without doing so.

The suggestion was that none of the GOP revert cared about fiscal conservatism. That’s observably false. The actually enacted such principles.

You can take them for all kinds of crap. I do. But THAT statement is just partisan hackery and revisionism.


The bank robbers observed the speed limit and all the other traffic laws while driving to the bank, which proves they cared about following the law.


Wait, if the Dems controlled Congress for 40 years, because Congress controls spending (which is true), how did the Republicans “do it?”

I suppose we need clarification on what timeframe you are referring to.


It’s simple. If it’s a good thing, then:

If Dems hold Congress and a Republican is President, then Republicans did it.
If Republicans hold Congress and a Democrat is President, then Republicans did it.

If it’s a bad thing, then the reverse is true.


So…both some blame and some credit belongs to each party when laws are passed with non-trivial support from both parties. Why is this an argument, exactly?


He’s talking about the Gingrich Congress. Even there, it’s hard to give much credit to the Republicans. Clinton took office in 1993 with a Democratic House, and immediately passed the Omnibus Reconcilation Act of 1993. Despite the fact that it was designed to address the runaway deficit, not a single House Republican voted for it. Why? Because while the bill cut some spending, it also raised taxes, largely on the wealthy.

The law was designed to reduce the deficit, and by all accounts it did. The Gingrich revolution happened in 1994, and the resulting Republican House immediately moved to take advantage of the improving budget projections resulting from unilateral Democratic action by — you guessed it — proposing tax cuts for the wealthy combined with social spending cuts. Clinton declined, leading to the government shutdown, etc. Clinton won the shutdown fight, Republicans accepted his budget, and as far as I can recall, he never actually signed any budget proposed by the Gingrich House Conservatives. Why they should get the credit for deficit reduction is way beyond me.

Edit: As a footnote, noted principled deficit hawk Kasich was in the House in 1993. How did he deal with Clinton’s effort to reduce the deficit? He proposed an amendment which would have eliminated all of the tax increases and replace them with — you guessed it again — cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He was voted down, and as a result he voted agains the final bill.


Because some folks feel the need to be hyper partisan.


Reality is hyper partisan sometimes according to you.


When will we have our first openly gay, openly woman, or openly atheist President? And will it be the same person?