Stephens Media columnist Steve Brawner writes on the bipartisan practice of deficit spending during difficult times and how it is a long-standing mechanism to prop up the economy.
We do it all the time under both Democrats and Republicans. It’s a perfectly reasonable theory that has a glaring problem: Though the federal government is quite adept at the deficit spending part of that equation, it never gets around to paying the money back.
The government has been in debt since the mid-1830s, through booms and busts, good times and bad, and war and peace. A temporary small surplus existed during the go-go 1990s, when the Internet was young and everyone was making money in the stock market. That surplus disappeared with tax cuts, Sept. 11, two wars, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, a new Medicare drug entitlement, the initial retirements of the baby boomers, and, of course, the recession.
In the past, it was considered manageable when the federal government spent a few hundred billion dollars a year more than it took in. Now, in both the Bush and Obama administrations, it is making a habit of going more than a trillion dollars in the hole each year, trying to buy time until the recession ends.
Brawner wonders if the depths of red ink to which we’ve stooped may be leading us to a dangerous edge of a new reality. You can read more of his thoughts at this link.