For decades now Republicans have championed themselves the party of “fiscal conservatives,” which I’ve never quite understood because they only seem to be conservative on social issues or on tax hikes for the rich.
When it comes to massive government spending, they lead the way.
In fact, the last Republican President to actually balance the budget was Dwight D. Eisenhower, who served in office from 1953-1961.
And even he refused to lower taxes until our budget was balanced. He also presided over the “massive government spending” project which resulted in the building of our Interstate Highway system, and warned against the Military Industrial Complex—which was basically his warning against big defense companies bloating our budgets with unnecessary defense contracts which only serve to grow their profits.
So what that means is for a conservative voter to have actually voted for a Republican President who balanced the budget, they would’ve had to have been born in the late-1930’s (at the very latest) to have voted for President Eisenhower.
“Conservative hero” Ronald Reagan didn’t do it—in fact, he nearly tripled the national debt while in office. President George H. Bush added almost $2 trillion to it in his 4 years and President George W. Bush added just under $6 trillion (and it would be a lot more except the money he passed in 2008 gets charged to Obama since it went on the books in 2009–Obama’s first year in office).
Not only did they increase our national debt, Reagan, G.H. Bush and G.W. Bush massively grew our defense budgets—something President Eisenhower strongly warned against.
So what I’m really saying is, the last Republican President to actually balance the budget wouldn’t even be a Republican today. But hell, if you base “being a Republican” on current Tea Party politics, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t be one either.
And if you really want a little extra jab at Republicans considering their push to find any kind of “scandal” against President Obama, just remind them of Iran-Contra. You know, when we were caught illegally selling arms to Iran during the Reagan Administration? Can you imagine if that happened on Obama’s watch? Holy crap.
So the next time one of your right-wing buddies (or even a stranger, for that matter) brings up Republicans and their “fiscally conservative policies,” just ask them which Republican President they voted for who actually balanced the budget.
Then laugh because most of them have never actually voted for one.
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