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Reagan, Bush, drove up debt

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What if immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President (Franklin) Roosevelt and Congress drastically cut income and capital gains taxes and announced that all war efforts would be funded using foreign debt? And what if the nation’s wealthy invested their windfalls in emerging markets such as Germany and Japan rather than investing in U.S. companies and buying U.S. bonds? In 2003, President (George W.) Bush and Congress slashed taxes after we were at war in Afghanistan and as we were going to war in Iraq. The hot investment areas over the next few years were emerging markets — India, China and Russia. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were financed with debt, much of it foreign debt. Our debt to China rose by $1 trillion during Bush’s presidency. Under President Clinton’s leadership, this nation had budget surpluses and we were paying down our substantial debt that had accrued following President (Ronald) Reagan and Bush’s tax cuts. That bright future dimmed in 2003. Our national expenditures have remained reasonably constant as a function of the GDP but our revenue has fluctuated as tax rates rose and fell. At the end of WWII, the nation’s debt as a percentage of GDP was 120 percent. It gradually fell to 30 percent of GDP by the end of President (Jimmy) Carter’s administration. Reagan and Bush drove our debt to over 60 percent of GDP. The banner graphic on the Congressional Budget Office website provides a good summary of our future, allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and our national debt stabilizes — extend the Bush tax cuts and our debt grows exponentially to insolvency. To quote Adlai Stevenson — “Patriotism is not a short, frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” David Duncan, Auburn