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Published: Sunday, Feb. 17 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mark l
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

So it looks like we don't have a spending problem at all, we have a revenue problem. *sarcasm*

wrz
Ogden, UT

Sorry, Richard, but you're woefully mistaken.

More debt was amassed under Obama than any president in history... and in only four years. In fact, debt almost more than all presidents added together.

You indicate that Bush's programs of war, tax cuts, and Medicare D caused the debt accumulation under Obama. You're ignoring the fact that Obama could have cut all those debt-adding programs the first day in office had he chosen to do so and had he disagreed with them. But he didn't. So it would be accurate to assume he agreed with the programs and decided to let them stand. Thus, the accumulated debt is his.

Of course, the real answer is that Congress is at fault for any and all national debt since no expenditure can occur without their approval.

ECR
Burke, VA

Thanks for stating the facts Richard. But I hope your prepared for an onslaught of counter claims from the pro-Conservative side of the aisle. And it should be noted that our current fiscal problems are a combination of those unwise decisions of the past and the financial crises of the more recent past that was caused by a number of issues that cross both political parties.

And while there is some merit in properly placing the blame it is more important to now focus on fixing the problem. And so the most disheartening issue today is the Republican led House of Representatives voting to leave early for a week long vacation without addressing the coming fiscal cliff that will impact more than just federal workers. It will be an illustration of just how much of the "private sector" lives of the workings of government.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

The Bush Administration also allowed the economy to blow up making it impossible to pay the debt. This is called the triple whammy. cit taxes to the wealthy, start unfunded wars, and deregulate private enterprise.

Mr. Bean
Ogden, UT

@wrz: "More debt was amassed under Obama than any president in history... and in only four years. In fact, debt almost more than all presidents added together."

Yes, Obama's debt accumulation was in just four years. He has four more years ahead of him were the national debt is expected to increase by over $1 trillion each year. So, his total addition to the national debt for his 8 years in the White House will total about ten trillion dollars!

ECR
Burke, VA

I see wrz and Mr. Bean are having trouble listening to what is being said. Reagan tripled the national debt with his tax cuts and his overwhelming spending on defense (which caused the Soviets to go bankrupt trying to keep up. I guess that was a good thing). George H. W. and Clinton raised taxes (for which they were vilified) which put the economy in great shape and which started us on a path towards becoming debt free as a nation. George W. put an end to that trend (with the help of a minor recession) by cutting taxes, especially on the wealthy, and then spent like a mad mad man with money he didn't have and ended up doubling the debt. Obama has added about 60% to the national debt but not because he did any of the things Reagan and George W. did. He has taken an economy that was losing 700,000 jobs a month and turned it around to now adding 150,000 jobs a month and the deficit has decreased during this term, regardless of what others say. Just look at the facts.

nonceleb
Salt Lake City, UT

Another factor overlooked is the drop in tax revenues due to the Great Recession. Conservatives argue the debt is due to "reckless spending." Baby Boomers reaching retirement now is a major cause of increased spending. And yearly tax revenues are down about $700 billion from 2007, which is about half of the yearly deficits of 1.2 to 1.4 trillion dollars. The best way to reduce the deficits is to get the economy growing again, and then, when stronger, cut spending in areas that will not hurt economic growth.

one old man
Ogden, UT

It's very refreshing to see an intelligent letter about debt here.

wrz
Ogden, UT

@ECR: "I see wrz and Mr. Bean are having trouble listening to what is being said."

I can't speak for Bean but I can say that it gets tiresome having to put up with Democrat talking points.

The truth of the matter is, Obama increased the debt about $6 trillion during his first term and is expected to add an additional $5 trillion in his second term. That's about $11 trillion, or more than doubt what it was when he first took over.

Keep in mind that, when a president takes over the White House he takes control and responsibility over government expenditures occurring on his watch. It's disingenuous to give credit for the good that happens on a watch and assign the bad to predecessors, as you seem to be trying to do.

But, as I stated in a prior post '... the real answer is that Congress is at fault for any and all national debt since no expenditure can occur without Congress's approval.' And that includes, by the way, the two wars in the Mideast which were approved by Congress and funded by that august body since they began.

DougS
Oakley, UT

Debt is caused by over spending not under taxing. During the past 4 years the national debt has increased more than double any debt incurred during a previous administration. I also note that there was no data provided to clear the fact that during much of the republican administrations there was a democrat controlled congress. This, not to excuse the republicans, but so as not to let the democrats off the hook. They created Social Security, Medicare, aid to dependent children, and other expensive welfare programs responsible for most of the debt. They blame republicans for wanting to change the system.. People, the system is broke!

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Excellent letter. Let me add this: deficit spending is a valuable tool to be used in times of national emergency. WWII, for example. But Presidents Reagan and Bush pursued policies that led to massive deficit spending without a national emergency to justify it. Instead, they believed in a false economic theory called 'supply-side economics,' in which tax cuts are sufficiently stimulative that they pay for themselves. Not true, sadly, and we're still footing the bill.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

Thanks, Mr. Burt. It's good to see facts presented instead of just the ill-based rhetoric of the far right extremists who care more about hampering the President than they do about fixing the problems he inherited when he took office.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

Wow, talk about cherry-picking facts!

Congress has more control over spending than the president does. Spending was under control in the 90's because of a Republican-controlled congress and the Democrats who agreed with them. Social Security and Medicare take up a much bigger portion of deficit spending than the military does, and it is dishonest to blame current deficits on military spending.

It is also a fallacy to equate well-being of the country with amount of Federal taxes collected. Sucking money out of the economy, right out of people's and businesses' pockets, could never stimulate growth.

wrz
Ogden, UT

@Eric Samuelsen:
"... deficit spending is a valuable tool to be used in times of national emergency. WWII... But Presidents Reagan and Bush pursued policies that led to massive deficit spending without a national emergency to justify it."

Are you telling us that 9/11 was not a national emergency? Did you communicate your important thoughts to Bush?

"Instead, they believed in a false economic theory called 'supply-side economics'..."

Wasn't supply-side economics developed by your cousin and the author of my Economics text, Paul Samuelson?

Supply-side economics: 'Economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers to production (supply) of goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by allowing greater flexibility by reducing regulation. Consumers will then benefit from a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices.'

Supply-side sounds like a viable plan for growth to me. If you want higher taxes, go for it.

ECR
Burke, VA

"Supply-side economics: 'Economic growth can be most effectively created by lowering barriers to production (supply) of goods and services, such as lowering income tax and capital gains tax rates, and by ... regulation. Consumers will then benefit from a greater supply of goods and services at lower prices."

That's a nice theory but President Reagan proved that it didn't work - it tripled the national debt, as has been pointed out earlier.

"...there was no data provided to clear the fact that during much of the republican administrations there was a democrat controlled congress."

The president presents the budget. There is clear evidence, however, that President Reagan, who somehow has the reputation of fighting for a balanced budget, never came close to doing so and it is also on record that in two of his eight years in office, Congress actually passed a budget with a lower deficit than he was proposing.

If anyone can prove, with factual evidence, that President Obama took office with anywhere near the positive conditions that other presidents did in the last 30 years, I will admit that he is a failure. But until you do, I can't...and I won't.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

ECR, actually Keyenes disproved it decades ago..it was called Says law..build it and they will come..ahhh not unless they want it, or have the money for it.

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

This letter is pure fiction.
Here are the facts.

From FDR to the present:

Democrat presidents - 8.9 trillion total debts
Republican presidents - 7.7 trillion.

Democrat presidents have 15.5% more debt than republicans.

Now the liberals will scream, it isn’t the president, but congress. Nice try but...

The last time a democrat controlled congress balanced the budget was 1969. Since 1960 there have been 34 democrat controlled congress years, 2 balanced budgets, 32 years of deficits.

Democrat congresses ran deficits 94% of the time
Democrat congresses - 5.8 trillion total debt

In the same period the republicans have been in control of congress 7 years and ran a SURPLUS 4 out of 7 years, and had 3 years of deficits.

Republican congresses ran deficits 43% of the time (majority of republican budgets are balanced!)
Republican congresses - 1 trillion total debt

So democrat congresses have given us almost 6 times the debt of republican congresses.

The rest of the debt was under split congresses, which defers responsibility to the president, as the leader and signer.

The truth:

Democrats have created the most debt, both in congress and as president, by a margin of trillions!

BYUtah Fan
Herriman, UT

Ya know folks, I don't care who is to blame. As far as I am concerned, both parties are complicit in this massive irresponsibility. We are where we are. The only good thing that I can say about the republicans is that they are at least giving lip service to caring about the massive debt. The only thing I hear from democrats is how to spend even more.

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