February 22, 2013

Angelo Codevilla: lying liar not worth wading through [updated]

Or so was the reaction of my liberal friends when I posted a link on Facebook yesterday to his latest piece, “As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions Of Voters Are Orphaned”.  Little did I know at the time that by posting a link highly critical of the GOP establishment, I’d receive in return, from my progressive academic friends, spreadsheets and the like purporting to show that Ronald Reagan was, among modern Presidents, one of the worst offenders when it came to overspending and deficits — that he was, in a word, dangerously profligate in his approach to government.

I’m going to post the entirety of the exchange and if I can manage it, links to the supporting evidence offered on behalf of the notion that Reagan was, by percentage, one of the most irresponsible spenders in modern American history (my problem is I don’t have Excel on my Mac, and my wife is out of town today on business).

Your job as readers and researchers and (in some cases) academics or financial professionals, is to go through the numbers and, if it’s possible to do so, answer the charges being made by my liberal friend.

To that end, here’s the exchange (including comments from others on my Facebook thread).  First, my original post:

My liberal friends should read [Codevilla's piece], because it echoes the cry of “outlaw” I made back in 2008 in response to TARP and auto bailouts and the fecklessness of an Establishment GOP ruling class. Such a cry prefigured the TEA Party movement: it was a call for the people to demand representation over and above party labels. Here, Angelo Codevilla lays out what I’ve written about over the last number of years in a single, well-argued and well-thought out essay.

The first response comes from Brant Hadaway:

This is an example of how we’re becoming more like Europe, where the Right and the Left are comfortably esconced in a corrupt, corporatist culture, and politicians who seek to represent the wishes of regular people are marginalized as populists and reactionaries.

…to which I replied,

Exactly, Brant. But the takeaway is (partly) encouraging: the center cannot hold. Right now, going third party is a losing proposition precisely because too many people fear it is a losing proposition, and they fear this will only keep progressives, who are more unified, in power. The GOP establishment banks on this and offers us the lesser of two evils, always believing we’ll pick that over the alternative. This only lasts, however, until the coalition of the unrepresented and the dispossessed realize that if they band together, they are far and away the majority. Reagan knew this. And Karl Rove knows this, which is why he and the establishment are working fervently against this tide to redefine themselves as “conservative” while working to marginalize actual conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians as fringe. They want to usurp the brand and attach it to the moderate middle, forcing the entirety of the two-party political spectrum to the left. The real battle being fought now is inside the GOP. That, and the battle against time. Because the crash is coming. And fast, now that the Fed has made certain admissions that will lead to its being legaly restrained.

This was followed by the first liberal response from a high school friend of mine, Robert Stern, a very sharp (but quite liberal) guy who works as Regional Medical Officer at U.S. Embassy Cairo (formerly, he was stationed in Turkey, if I’m remembering correctly):

In the very first paragraph, the author excludes the Reagan administration from his complaints of growing government. Why? Government budgets and deficits exploded under his administration. I wonder why RR always gets a pass. At the beginning of the second paragraph, the author speaks of millions of Americans who are unrepresented. In the last election, Democratic candidates for the House received millions more votes than Republican candidates, yet through Gerrymandering, the Republicans control the House. I think this is the real travesty creating millions of unrepresented Americans. Then, I ran out of energy to continue reading.

Leave aside for a moment the rhetorical maneuver of dismissing the essays larger points by concentrating on supposed misstatements in the first paragraph, or the strange suggestion that gerrymandering is a uniquely Republican phenomenon. Or that Codevilla in the essay actually points out the phenomenon of gerrymandering and links it to the growth of the ruling class — which essentially argues in favor of Stern’s ancillary point, though Stern, having run out of energy, never got that far.  Which is why in my follow ups (which I’ll combine for convenience) I pointed out that reading the entire article might help put the argument in better perspective:

Reagan cut department budgets in real dollars. He also shut the government down on 4 separate occasions. It’s funny: the same people who tell us Clinton gave us a surplus will blame Reagan for governmental growth, never bothering to remember that Clinton was constrained by a Gingrich-led House, while Reagan was dealing with a Democrat-led Congress. The fact is, you and I were around, Bobby. Carter had given up, told us to layer on sweaters, counseled an acceptance of decline and malaise. Reagan gave us unprecedented growth. Sadly, Bush I screwed the base and surrendered that momentum. Which was one of the points of the piece I linked. You can bracket who controlled the purse strings under Reagan and pretend he was some profligate spender, but we both know that to be a flimsy and strained bit of revisionist history. Reagan rebuilt the military — not coincidentally one of the Constitutional responsibilities of the federal govt. But he also trimmed the budgets of nearly every bureaucratic agency, even WITH a Dem Congress. Not to mention what he did to lower tax rates. You can look it up, even!

[...]

Also, the people he’s talking about who are unrepresented are putative Republicans, though he allows for some Dems as well. My advice? Muster the energy to at least get the gist before commenting. Or better still, finish the two pages and address the entirety of what he’s arguing. It is a broadside against the GOP. Which might even make you happy!

Stern’s rejoinder was somewhat predictable, we Reaganites / constitutionalists having met with these types of deflections before:

Jeff, Please do not try to pretend that Reagan did not explode the annual deficit (in nominal and adjusted $) to levels never seen in peace time. I will try to upload the data, if I can figure out this FB thing. Also, do not forget that another Constitutional responsibility of the government is to “Provide for the general welfare” in an attempt to create a more perfect union.

Sent along separately via email was a pdf of the data from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, dated April of 2012

Click here.  Then go to table 2.3.

Next up, Dave Price responded thusly:

Reagan’s non-military budgets were ALWAYS smaller than the Democrats’ proposals. We could have cut defense too, but not having the Soviet Union around anymore is probably a public good.

While I can’t be certain Stern would agree that the defeat of the Soviet Union, which created of the US a hyperpower and impelled what Francis Fukuyama assured us was “the End of History,” was on net a global positive, leaving as it did the US in the role of world policeman, I nevertheless decided to expand on an earlier answer:

Again, Bobby, Reagan rebuilt a decimated military while his tax and regulatory policies created over time 25 million jobs. Interest rates under Carter were in the double digits. The amount of revenue taken in under Reagan’s pro- growth policies, despite the dramatic reduction in tax burden, was staggering. So naturally the Democrat Congress wanted more and more in their budgets. But recall, Reagan refused to sign any more omnibus bills. And he was willing to shut the government down 4 times to keep the Dem Congress in line. It is simply disingenuous to suggest Reagan didn’t cut bureaucratic outlay across the board. And this despite a Dem Congress. [Who wanted to spend more. Meaning, if you're willing to call Reagan's spending profligate, why on earth wouldn't you be more concerned with attempts by Democrats to increase that profligacy?]

On the other hand, Bush II and the GOP Congress were profligate spenders. But, as under Reagan, the Dems STILL fought for even MORE spending. Until now when [they] don’t even feel the need to pass a budget and have rolled the “one-time stimulus” into the baseline: over a trillion each year in deficit spending.

So, here’s the question:  looking over the numbers Stern provides from the OMB, what are we to make of Reagan’s spending vs., say, Obama’s spending, or Clinton’s Spending, or the spending of the Bushes, factoring in such things as the contemporaneous makeup of the Congresses they each had to deal with, and keeping in mind that Reagan was following Carter’s stagflation, while Obama is following “Bush’s” housing bubble collapse and the bailout of companies too big to fail?

One thing obviously is that, for all Obama’s attempts to blame the collapse on Bush, it is worth noting that the Democrats controlled Congress from 2007 onward, with Supermajorities in the first two years of Obama’s tenure, until the 2010 TEA party revolution (which rankles establishment Republicans almost more than it did Democrats).  Also worth noting is that Democrats voted for Bush’s spending (often criticizing his budgets for not spending enough), then, when they gained control of Congress later in his tenure, voted for even more spending, Barack Obama included — meaning that if they believe Bush’s profligate spending (or Reagan’s for that matter) was such a concern, why on earth would they agitate for even more spending than they now claim was profligate at the lower levels?

But as this is to be a group exercise, I’m going to leave you to it.  Please do show your work, either through links or through cold hard mathematics.

Ready?  Go.

****

update:  Enrak provides these two graphic representations of the data from the OBM table 2.3:

OMB1 FRED_1FRED_1

What I suspect is happening, from a quick glance at the lines, is that the OBM has been instructed to attribute to Bush the entirety of the stimulus, which Obama increased — and therefore, keep those numbers out of any subsequent accounting, given that the budget has simply incorporated that number into its baseline as a practical matter, without a budget having been passed to record officially.

Thoughts?

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:21am
91 comments | Trackback

Comments (91)

  1. The Heritage Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute have covered this ground with lots of math and charts. Facts are not important compared to TRUTH!!!!11!!!1!!!

  2. Also, do not forget that another Constitutional responsibility of the government is to “Provide for the general welfare” in an attempt to create a more perfect union.

    No it is not. The Preamble says that the constitution was enacted to “provide for the common defense” and “promote the general welfare”. There is a world of difference between those two verbs.

    Either your friend is ignorant, or he’s deliberately lying.

  3. Can you find links to the math and chart, charles?

  4. Whenever Proggs throw out the “general welfare” BS like it’s some kind of Magic Candy Dispenser from the Founders, it always cheeses me.

    First, “promote the general Welfare” appears in the Preamble. This is not law, but an abstract: Here’s what this Constitution sets out to do. The body (specifically Article 1 Section 8) says how the general Welfare may be legally promoted by the Federal government.

    Art.1 Sec.8 spells out a few things, pointedly that Congress (not the Executive, not Reagan or Clinton or King Barack I the Jug-Eared) provides for the general welfare in these ways:

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    See anything in there about making sure Johnny gets to become Janie on the gubmint dime, or giving Medicare to the 24-year-old baby momma who’s never worked a day in her life and thus can’t afford OTC meds so she need a script for Advil but has two iPhone 5s (one to text each baby daddy because they don’t like each other), balanced nails, $200 kicks, and goes home to a 74″ flatscreen with XBox AND PS3?

  5. Furthermore, the “more perfect union” was not the job of the government. The preamble begins “We the People.”

  6. Further, Art.1 Sec.8 deals with “provid[ing] for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States”

    Interesting how these two are lumped together. Not treated separately in different sections, but treated as two parts of one function of government. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I think that may have some significance.

  7. I can’t find the link, McGehee, but IIRC Patrick Henry was not happy with “We the People”, he thought it should be “We the States” since the Constitution was really supposed to be a compact between the several sovereign States, and not the individuals thereof.

  8. Wikipedia sez:

    After the 1990 census, the Florida legislature carved out a new Third Congressional District in the northern part of the state. This district was designed to enclose an African-American majority within its boundaries.

    From Republican Party of Florida:

    1994 Republicans gain control of the Senate, Jim Scott is the first Republican Senate President that serves a full two-year term
    1996 Republicans gain a majority in the Florida House, the first time since 1874; Toni Jennings becomes the first Republican woman Senate President; Daniel Webster becomes the first Republican Speaker since Reconstruction; for the second cycle in a row, no incumbent Republican state legislator loses reelection

    IOW, Corrine Brown’s District 3 was carved out by a Democrat-controlled legislature.

    That’s just one example out of many.

  9. Democrats want to attribute to Reagan spending increases that the Democrats insisted upon and Reagan agreed to in order to get his military budget.

  10. This is a must read: The Age of Reagan by Steven F. Hayward (2 volumes discussing the rot and decline of the liberal agenda from 1960 – 1980 and then both terms in office). Just finished it. I was a young republican at the 1980 convention in Detroit. What a blast! Anyway, I think you need to distinguish Ronnie’s first term from his second. Revolutionary government shrinking vs. lost opportunity to consolidate the gains is how I would view the 2 terms. I think Iran Contra took up a lot of attention in the 2nd term.

  11. “General welfare” was meant in the context of whatever the government does must benefit everyone equally, or nearly so. Building and maintaining roads, for instance, benefits most, but some more directly than others. Even someone who doesn’t use the roads much buys goods and uses services from providers that use the roads at a higher rate.

    The vast majority of spending that the government does now does not pass this test.

  12. DarthLevin says February 22, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I would say both — the whole a major point of replacing the Articles with the Constitution was to establish that Americans were citizens of the United States as well as of their respective states. Thus the states are included in the formulation that was used, as well as in the Senate as originally envisioned.

    In any event, legal documents have always had descriptive preambles that amount to statements of purpose. The prescriptive guts of the document are what carry the force of contract.

  13. That OMB link seems to be bad, at least just now.

  14. “General welfare” was meant in the context of whatever the government does must benefit everyone equally, or nearly so.

    Yes, yes, yes! Even if it can’t benefit everyone equally, it must at least be enacted and implemented with that intention.

    Taking money from Peter and giving it to Paul is the exact opposite. Calling such programs “welfare” was a deliberate deception.

  15. In fact the ratification of the 16th Amendment deliberately undermined the “general” part of general welfare, by allowing Washington to collect revenue unequally among the states.

  16. The White House again PDF warning

    This is a big old file, but it’s interesting…

  17. It would be nice to have a statistic showing pages of the Federal Register generated per day of a given administration pressing new rules vs. repealing old rules, i.e. further burdening the conduct of life and commerce in encumbering red-tape or removing burdens of the conduct of life and commerce. One administration will create many of the former and none of the latter with an overall higher per-day total, for instance, whereas another administration may create few of the former and many of the latter with a noticeably lower over-all total. What’s the determinant? Well, what’s the aim of the administration?

  18. Jeff, I’ll try later tonight when I have some time.

  19. The source is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

    Table 2.3.

    For some reason I can’t get the PDF to show.

  20. Pingback: A Great New Piece From My Hero, Angelo Codevilla | Daily Pundit

  21. Every year Reagan would send a budget to Congress and Tip O’Neill would solemly intone that it was ‘dead on arrival’. At which point the correct response would be ‘Fine, idiot, now you and the rest of your feculent pricks own the spending,, especially the deficit.’

  22. That works. I’ve merely had to get an xls viewer (which was easy). It isn’t apparent at a glance that the “receipts by source as % of GDP” is going to tell us much, at least insofar as expenditures aren’t depicted alongside them. Let alone differentiate the purposes of expenditure (i.e., defeating a foreign enemy — and preparing to defeat others — as opposed to surrendering to them).

  23. The Real Reagan Record

    To summarize what actually happened in the 1980s, the “middle class,” and the vast majority by any measure, unquestionably experienced substantial gains in real income and wealth. With millions more families earning much higher incomes, it required much higher incomes to make it into the top 5 per cent or top 1 per cent, which largely accounts for the illusion that such “top” groups experienced disproportionate gains. The rising tide lifted at least 90 per cent of all boats. About 9 to 12 per cent continued to be poor, but this group increasingly consisted of female-headed households with young children. More and better jobs cannot help those who do not work, improved investment opportunities cannot help those who do not save, and increased incomes cannot help families whose fathers refuse to support their own children.

  24. I see. So in retrospect, and ignoring the congresses during these Administrations, the fiscally conservative Presidents were profligate. I see.

    I can also see a few degrees of separation from recent fact. The fact that Obamacare is not only bankrupt before it begins, and that Obamacare is not only exclusive, and that Obamacare is already decimating the rolls of the covered, and that but for the left moving against the majority and the Court getting around its unconstitutionality by redrafting it it wouldn’t have existed, but that finally the left is overtly admitting most and soon to be all of this. See Krugman, Paul. Liar. For one.

    So somebody ask these clowns where the congresses were under, you know, Clinton. And where the reality is today. That kinda mattering.

  25. Democrats want to attribute to Reagan spending increases that the Democrats insisted upon and Reagan agreed to in order to get his military budget.

    I think this better describes W Bush than Reagan, along with the uncomfortable fact that Congress was controlled by Republicans.

    What generally happened to Reagan was he fell for the democrat bait-and-switch. He was promised spending cuts tomorrow for borrowing today (sequestration!) He fell for the same thing again with immigration, amnesty now for border control tomorrow.

    Now, you may certainly hold a negative opinion on Reagan’s gullibility in falling for such an obvious scam, but then…check out the news these days.

  26. I’ve merely had to get an xls viewer (which was easy). It isn’t apparent at a glance that the “receipts by source as % of GDP” is going to tell us much, at least insofar as expenditures aren’t depicted alongside them. Let alone differentiate the purposes of expenditure

    sdferr, that second link that Johninfirestone posted at 10:09 has at least some of that.

  27. The Heritage charts John posted at 9:59 make useful visualizations. In any case, these leftists misdirections are tedious and timewasting on the whole, as far as any serious consideration of Codevilla’s thesis is concerned. It may be a fault, but I’m inclined to ignore them as so much sand in the eyes, and instead read Codevilla again with the assumption he has something important to say.

  28. I don’t think Mr. Trust But Verify was fooled with a bait and switch, it’s just that his power to punish them for their mendacity was rather limited.

  29. Little did I know at the time that … I’d receive in return, from my progressive academic friends, spreadsheets and the like purporting to show that Ronald Reagan was, among modern Presidents, one of the worst offenders when it came to overspending and deficits[.]

    You know, it occured to me while shoveling my driveway for the third time in twelve hours that, what with Obama in the White House, talking about Reagan’s budget deficits makes as much sense as electing Wilt Chamberlain so you could talk about what cads Kennedy and Clinton were.

    Snatch the inadvertant concession that we have a structural spending problem of long standing and call it a day.

  30. The tables on pages 349-350 show total federal and total government spending by fiscal year from 1948 to 2011 as a percentage of GDP.

    Obama’s years of 2009, 2010, 2011 are the highest federal spending levels as a percentage of GDP on the chart at 25.2%, 24.1%, 24.1%. The next highest is 1983 under Reagan at 23.5%. These are total spending.

    If only “on budget” spending is looked at Obama’s 3 recorded years are the highest by a larger amount. 21.5%, 20.2%, 20.8% with the Reagan 1983 coming in at 19.2%.

    GW Bush in contrast hovered in the 19% overall and 16% on budget level even during 9/11 and the Iraq war.

  31. Minor correction: I’m flattered, and entirely agree with the comment attributed to me, but…I didn’t say it. :)

  32. Oops. It was DAVE Price. Sorry.

  33. I don’t think Mr. Trust But Verify was fooled with a bait and switch, it’s just that his power to punish them for their mendacity was rather limited.

    I don’t know if Ronnie was hip to the con or not, but he got conned.

    I don’t think he’s gullible myself. Hell, Democrats are masters at the big lie. They are still using it today, to great success. I mean, this time they even got the Republicans to agree raising taxes is a good idea. And the debt ceiling WILL go up.

  34. Back to this Codevilla piece, I’ve always thought calling the Republican Party the stupid party was a bit unfair, and didn’t like the expression. Now that I’ve read Mr. Codevilla, I can’t think of them as anything but.

    Maybe it’s the nature of a two party system, where occasionally one dies and another is born, as with the Whigs and the Republicans.

    The urge to tyranny is strong in human nature, and resisting is almost always from a defensive position. But given enough time, any fortress can be breached. What we have to remember is the castle may be destroyed, but the spirit of resistance will reform and materialize.

    I think that’s the moral of the story…

  35. To expand on the idea that the urge to tyranny is strong in human nature, and resisting is almost always from a defensive position, this works at the personal level first.

    Speaking from the Christian perspective, we are urged to resist temptation. We can’t stop temptation from happening, we can only deal with it when it comes. This puts those who would resist temptation at a distinct disadvantage, since giving in to temptation requires no effort at all. ‘If it feels good, do it’ is easy. If you’re an alcoholic, denying the bottle is a tough fight.

    This is a fundamental truth progressives don’t understand. They want to legislate away temptation itself, giving liberty not a care, when the truth is, the law can only define sin and judge the sinner, not remove sin.

    The Devil ain’t going nowhere, deal with it.

  36. The moral of that story is, tis by the individual virtue of the people liberty is attained and held, not by government dictate.

    We’re in trouble…

  37. I have but one question for those who bring up Reagan’s spending during a discussion about Obama’s spending:

    “Was Reagan’s spending wrong or are you trying to justify Obama’s spending?”

  38. us gov’t debt 1984 $3,484,710,437,728.59

    inflation adjusted

    us gov’t debt 2013 $ 1 6 , 5 9 6 , 1 9 5 , 5 4 2 , 1 4 6 . 9 4

  39. yea bringing up reagan is a proggtard herring to distract from baracky’s actions.

  40. The cry of the infantile: “He did it first!”

    Oh, well, that’s okay, then, if someone else did it first. Um hmmm.

  41. One tries to bracket with the opening salvo before the killing shot.

  42. Not to mention that “more perfect” is nonsense. Perfect either is or isn’t. There is no “more”.

  43. I’ll work on those edits tonight. Work calls. Any chance that can be changed to Enrak? :)

    I work in an industry unkind to classical liberals.

  44. I’m in the camp that says bringing up Reagan is a red herring. RR was president 30 years ago when most of his policies were implimented and thirty years on, the world is a far different place.

    Let’s concentrate on the here and now. Unless there is a double-secret magic eraser that can go back and undo the last four years of fuck-ups, does it really matter what any other president did when he was in office? Let’s start with Wilson and starting this spendorama train down the track and put the blame where it belongs.

    Or we can deal with the fall out now and stop looking to the distant past for someone else to blame.

  45. What I suspect is happening, from a quick glance at the lines, is that the OBM has been instructed to attribute to Bush the entirety of the stimulus, which Obama increased — and therefore, keep those numbers out of any subsequent accounting, given that the budget has simply incorporated that number into its baseline as a practical matter, without a budget having been passed to record officially.

    They’ve been doing that for quite some time. I’ve heard Rush make the argument that if they’re going to dump all that Keynesian spending off on Bush, then by their own light, it’s got to be the Bush recovery, not the Obama recovery.

  46. this sums up the baracky economy

    The recession and recovery in one picture

  47. I don’t think Codevilla’s essay was about deficit’s, Reagan or Obama. It was about how neither party is representing a a wide swath of voters. Because one party is stupid.

  48. Another way to look at it.

    Non-defense, on budget spending as a percentage of GDP

    Reagan 1983, 13.25%
    Obama 2009, 16.66%
    Obama 2011, 16.27%

  49. What’s this budget thing you speak of? Harry Reid don’t need no stinking budget.

  50. - Two thoughts. The GOP old guard and inner core, still led by Rove in essense, knows whats coming. One glaring truth through all of this Progressive Kubuki theater of recent years is that aside from all the back and forth and consumate bullshit and rancor, the one thing that isn’t happening is that most of the electorate might as well be invisible for all the representation they aren’t getting. No one in DC listens or cares, its all about power and getting elected. At some point even the low info will finally begin to care, at which point the good old boy club will be turned out. Rove and company are desperate to short circuit this eventual development.

    – As far as all this rewritting of history, its a prelude to the massive wall we’re bound to hit at some point, and the Left doesn’t want to shoulder the blame, pure and simple. This sort of historical game playing is what you should expect, basically to get Bumblefuck through his second term, avoiding as usual any and all responsibility. QED.

  51. this is a good reason for to avoid facebook

  52. “You’re bringing up Reagan? Guess that means you don’t have an argument to defend Obama, then. Buh-bye.”

  53. I don’t think Codevilla’s essay was about deficit’s, Reagan or Obama.

    It isn’t, but the discussion here has been.

  54. Do the implications of Codevilla’s observations regarding the bifurcation of the polity into a country party and ruling party ring an interesting note if we were to turn to the older bifurcation of the polity into the party of the rich and the party of the poor?

    Seems to me the de facto stance Codevilla takes upends the very stereotype ObaZma is attempting to sell the nation today. Those on the “ins” are the party of the rich (the party of the establishment) and those on the outs are the party of the poor (the country party). The various understandings of the alliances of the popular or populist (the appeal to the poor) will have to be reevaluated, and that not least by the poor themselves. Wouldn’t hurt though, if prominent spokesmen of the country party hammer home this case.

  55. An important element that’s generally ignored when Reagan is tarred as the worst of the big spenders is the Democrat controlled congresses failed to follow through on their promises of spending cuts that were part of the tax deals in 1982 and 1986. Consequently it appears that Regan’s tax rate reductions, never intended to be stand-alone measures, coupled with his DOD spending were reckless budget busting caprices…

    If he hadn’t been double-crossed by Democrats and Rockefeller Republicans, who never came across with the spending reduction they promised as part of the grand bargain, then the red ink wouldn’t have been anywhere near what it ultimately was.

    My regards to all

  56. In short, instead of cutting spending as promised, to offset the defense buildup, they spent the increases in revenues that resulted from the rate reductions; and the concomitant unleashing of business energy towards the end engaging in actual money-making ventures instead of creative tax-shelter measures that, by and large, didn’t generate any increases in GDP but only protected your stack from Uncle Sugar’s rapacious tax rates…

  57. rand farts in the theater of the absurd

    Rand Paul Introduces Sequester Bill

  58. The bigger problem is that liberals (as in leftists) are lying liars that are not worth wading through, and have been since at least Rousseau, and yet we must still wade through them because they are freaking *everywhere* and love nothing more than being in the way of other people.

  59. The debate between Reaganomics and Obamanomics fundamentally comes down to a discussion of supply side economics and demand side economics at the macro level. I’m not convinced supply side is completely right but I am convinced it is substantially less wrong than demand side economics.

    Here’s Michael Novak 0n Reaganomics and the poor and how progressives misunderstand and mistake Reaganomics and it’s effects.

    Here’s a chart of deficits by president from The Heritage Foundation. Included in that link is this link which provides a vast array of charts related to the deficit, of which this one on publicly held debt is probably my favorite, or perhaps this one on each American’s share of the publicly held debt.

    Here’s a devastating chart from AEI comparing the growth in government spending with the growth in median family income for the last 40 years. Frankly Reagan doesn’t look good, but at least the first derivative for the slower growing median family income was still positive, whereas Obama’s slope is steeper while median family income was falling.

    Here comes the entitlement tsunami!

    And yes, Virginia, it is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

    I haven’t had a chance to read through the whole thread, so I hope this is helpful and not too redundant.

  60. James Pethokoukis: The New York Times Just Wrote One Abysmal Editorial on Raising Taxes

    McGehee: Only one?

  61. Oh, and fucking Keynesians. Perhaps I’ve told this story before but I started out in an honors economics program. We dutifully learned about the Keynesian multiplier, but when I asked about the corresponding divisor — I mean, the money had to come from somewhere didn’t it, where it couldn’t now be spent four-fold or six-fold before dissipating into the ether — all I got were cold looks. A year later I had transfered and gone on to math and computer science where they don’t just make shit up. Well, technically they do, but at least in can all be traced back to a very small number of axioms which, while admittedly are somewhat arbitrary, are finite in number and more or less epistimologically based upon reality as we understand it. But I digress.

  62. Surely one a day is sufficient.

  63. Sorry, I mixed up AIE, CEI, and Heritage a couple of times earlier today. Mea culpa. I had no aspirations towards an academic career.

  64. Sorry, I mixed up AEI, CEI, and Heritage a couple of times earlier today. Mea culpa. I had no aspirations towards an academic career.

    Like I said…

  65. Stop calling me Shirley.

  66. leigh says February 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I don’t think Codevilla’s essay was about deficit’s, Reagan or Obama.

    It isn’t, but the discussion here has been.

    Ah, I was trying to steer the conversation back on topic, a very important one by the way, nor did I mean to chastise those of you wanting to talk about Reagan some more.

    Talk of carrot cake if it floats your boat, I don’t care…

  67. Also, if you want to continue playing Calvin Ball with with the left and compare Reagan to modern governance, don’t forget we were worrying about the next ice age in the eighties, not global warming. So don’t forget to subtract two and divide by five…

  68. Thanks for the tips, Lee!

  69. I remember the good old days of Reagan. Remember the “line-item-veto”? HA!

    For you younger people, back in the day we had this ritual where congress submitted this thing called “a budget”, and fiscal conservatives wished the president could simply cross out non-essential items, leaving only those expenses necessary to good governance. Trimming the pork, as it were.

    In retrospect, it seems a little naive, thinking of such abstracts like budgets, much less balancing them. Don’t you think it’s much better to forgo such Mrs. Manners type niceties, and just go straight to the needs of the people? Get’er done, worry about the bill later! That’s the responsible approach!

    Conservatives are such stick in the mud’s….

  70. don’t forget we were worrying about the next ice age in the eighties, not global warming.

    As I remember it, we were worrying about saying “no” to drugs, acid rain, the ozone hole, and that damn crazy hollywood cowboy either blowing up the world or getting us into another Vietnam in Central America.

    Not necessarily in that order.

  71. Table 2.3.

    I think that should be Table 1.3.

  72. Why did we win the cold war? Because Reagan built up the military and that cost a lot of money. The Soviet Union went broke trying to keep up. Reagan had to compromise with Democrats on a lot of spending they wanted in order to get his military budget through. Now the Democrats say Reagan was a big spender but he would have been willing to make cuts in non-military spending if the Democrats had agreed. Whatever the numbers are for the Reagan era the Democrats are in no position to put it all on Reagan. They were in the game the whole time. They voted for every budget that was approved and defeated smaller budgets that Reagan proposed. That’s who they and what they do, shift blame away from themselves for anything that can be criticized and claim credit for anything that can be called good.

  73. At least for the 1st chart. I’m not too sure where the second one comes from or exactly what two of the labels mean in the 2nd-3rd charts.

  74. getting us into another Vietnam in Central America.

    And instead of ending up entangled in Central American politics (despite ObaZma’s attempt to aid the Honduran despot, or play footsie with the Venezuelan dictator), we end up with echoes from Lebanon reverberating in Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s heads, with 9/11 following failed attention getting assaults in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen.

  75. As I remember it, we were worrying about saying “no” to drugs, acid rain, the ozone hole, and that damn crazy hollywood cowboy either blowing up the world or getting us into another Vietnam in Central America.

    That was just you.

    Personally, I was saying yes to drugs, never did find the radio station that played Acid Rain, looked for holes in the ozone to work on my tan. Also, I was trained in duck and cover.

    Ahhh, the world was good in the eighties.

    Remember Cheech and Chong?

  76. The 80’s were all about cartoons and kickball, obviously.

    These things might be subjective.

  77. This one year, I think it was 1982, I dove the whole time without a seat belt, and no one cared.

    No one cared.

    People were cruel in 1982…

  78. Course back then a guy could get back.

    People used to smoke indoors then, and even though I didn’t smoke,…I didn’t care.

    Take that uncaring people! Take that!

  79. Blech. The ’80s, that is.

  80. At least in the eighties, football players didn’t wear pink.

  81. I’ll tell ya something else, sounds like the raving of a nostalgic old man, but it’s true. I swear.

    I think it was 1984, maybe ’85, I went from August plumb through to near Thanksgiving time…never thought of the government once.

    I know, I know…but honest! It’s true!

  82. And yet, I spent a huge chunk of the ’80s studying government. I still suspect I knew more before I changed my major to poli sci than the wonks running the place know now.

    Then again, they didn’t have classes with Ted Putterman. Proud liberal. Honest man. Opponent of political correctness not so much because it was tyrannical (though it was and he knew it, and opposed it for that too) but because it was intellectually infantile.

  83. Of course, the two were inevitably linked…

  84. …which may help explain my hostility to infantile commentary from a certain cartoon character we all know…

  85. I was finishing up my first of many degrees in the 80s and I can remember actually being able to challenge the received wisdom of the professors and them not taking offense to it. There were actual spirited debates in the classroom. You could smoke in the student center and the caf. Hell, when I began, you could still smoke in class. All the desks had built in ashtrays since the college had been built to accomodate all the returning GIs from WWII.

    I could also fill my VW Beetle with gas for a ten dollar bill and get a free car wash.

  86. 80s, sheesh. I turned 40 in the 80s. Now in the 60s I could send a money order of less than $20 to any of a number of companies in another state and have them ship me a rifle, ammo too. Papers, they didn’t need no stinkin’ papers.

    Gas, I could have the service man fill up my car, 20 gallon tank, for 5 bucks, less than $4 if there was a gas war going on at the local stations.

    Of course this was all pre-Jimmah, pre-Nixon/Ford too.

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