Thursday, June 11, 2009
Deficit spending has always been Americans' bete noir; the gospel of balanced budgets is deeply ingrained in our political and economic psyche. Through all the Keynesian experiments of the '60s and '70s, voters remained committed to a balanced budget. They worried as deficits rose in the Reagan years -- then calmed as the economy turned up.
But when the news turned bad under the first President George Bush, they blamed the deficit -- the issue was a major source of Ross Perot's appeal in the 1992 election. And when President Bill Clinton (and a Republican Congress) finally balanced the budget, the economy bloomed -- reinforcing public beliefs about the dangers of deficits.
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