By Ed Dillon: In spite of one of the largest election victories in many years and presidential approval ratings ranging from 65 to 72 percent, we still find ourselves in a situation where the Republican Party is fighting the president and Democratic Party every step of the way.
In spite of one of the largest election victories in many years and presidential approval ratings ranging from 65 to 72 percent, we still find ourselves in a situation where the Republican Party is fighting the president and Democratic Party every step of the way. After eight disastrous years, the Republicans continue to trumpet the same old worn-out policies that put us into this mess in the first place.
Just for a reality check, let's have a little review of history. When Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, we had a national debt of about $1 trillion. At that time, we had existed as a nation for 205 years, we had survived the Great Depression and we had fought the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and a series of other less significant conflicts. Within two terms, Reagan, the leader of the party of "fiscal responsibility," had taken our nation's debt from just $1 trillion to $3 trillion. That's right, folks, after 205 years, Reagan, with his "Trickle Down Economics," was able to triple the national debt in just eight years. Quite an accomplishment!
In 1989, Reagan was followed by his vice president, George H. W. Bush. It was more of the same corporate deregulation and tax cuts for the very wealthy. In just four years, Bush was able to move the national debt from $3 trillion to $4.5 trillion, an increase of 50 percent.
Democrat Bill Clinton took office in 1993, in the face of 12 years of Republican waste, big spending and tax cuts for the wealthy. Over the course of two terms, he was able to substantially slow down waste and spending and shrink the size of government. Additionally, he gave us eight years of peace, prosperity and historically high economic growth, while cutting the pace of the rise of the national debt to a reasonable 26 percent over those eight years.
In 2001, George "Dubya" Bush inherited a national debt of $5.7 trillion. By the time he left office on Jan. 20, 2009, he had run that up to $10.6 trillion — 10.6 times the $1 trillion in debt which Ronald Reagan had inherited in 1981.
Folks, keep in mind that this mess was created by just three Republican presidents, over the course of just 28 years, with Clinton sandwiched in there to slow down the process. Also keep in mind the accomplishments of this great nation and most of its presidents, which took place during the 205 years leading up to the start of this fiasco. Then send letters (not email) to our Senators and Representatives in Washington. Tell them that they must stop this nonsense and start implementing new and creative policies to replace the tired, old, worn-out policies, most of which never worked in the first place.
This current disaster is too big to be fixed by the policies that caused it. The only model we have for this mess is the Great Depression and the only model we have for fixing it is the New Deal — an approach that worked the first time around, in spite of what Republicans try to tell you. We now have brilliant people at the helm for the first time in eight years. We must trust them to make the best decisions they can, based on the best information they can get. If we do nothing or rely on old, failed ideas, we may never recover. I hate to even think of that!
Ed Dillon has lived in Ashland since 2001. He has always enjoyed writing and expressing political opinions.