This is how we got to where we are today:
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) was elected in response to the Watergate scandal. Carter had double-digit inflation, an energy crisis, hostages in Iran and canceled wheat shipments to Russia. He also deregulated the airlines and trucking industry.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) proposed a low-tax, small government. He succeeded in lowering taxes. Spending cuts never took place. He pumped up the military and the deficit more than doubled. In his second term, the deficit declined a little, mostly because he agreed to a tax increase. The Berlin Wall was torn down. There was Iran-Contra. David Stockman's book "The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed," blamed Republicans, who did not cut spending. Deficits ballooned.
George "Read my lips" Bush (1989-1993) led us through the 100-hour war in Iraq. The economy bumping along the bottom, raising taxes, deficit spending and high unemployment cost him a second term.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001) raised taxes in his first year in office and oversaw steep reductions in the military and government, which began before the Republican landslide of 1994. Clinton and a Republican Congress saw the lowest average deficits of any president since the 1960s, the biggest surpluses and the lowest unemployment. Clinton brought us NAFTA and Monica.
George W. Bush (2001-2009) did three things: cut taxes, gave prescription drugs to the elderly and fought two wars. Problem is, he did not to pay for anything. Along came the 2008 recession. The deficit more than doubled.
Michael R. Sweeney