Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who was the most profligate president?

Who was the most profligate president?

Many Americans seem to think that the Obama administration has been overspending wildly. And they seem to recoil from the recommendations of many economists, that the government should borrow even more than it has in order to get the economy moving, especially to fund improvements in the country’s aging infrastructure. The Republicans seem to have won over many folks to the view that the government should cut back spending at a time when it would be better to jump-start the flagging economy.

The discussion brings to mind a statement by Christopher Buckley, the son of the notable conservative William F. Buckley, on the PBS program NOW with Bill Moyers [3/3/06].

“President Bush has now borrowed more money than all other Presidents combined. The spending that he has enacted is amazing. It amazes me that he calls himself "conservative."”

I am ill equipped to know if this statement is correct. In fact, I’m unsure if anyone could know, because the Bush administration took the two wars they were fighting off-line. Presumably there is no good way to find out. Moreover, I don’t know if Christopher was a Republican like his father. But his statement is arresting, for it makes a claim about the profligacy of a recent Republican administration that American people have no idea of.

What worries me is that, unaware of exactly where the budget deficit came from, or who to blame for the collapse of the economy, the American people could elect back into office the very group of people that signed off on the profligacy of the former president.

And so bring the foxes back into the hen-house.

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