View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Reagan's Debt 

Amidst all the honor being paid to Ronald Reagan, one callerto Hugh Hewitt last night voiced a frequent complaint: Reagan's deficit spending, and the national debt. Now this was noted at the time, but at the time President Reagan left office, the national debt was 53.4% of the nation's GDP. At the beginning of 1947, 18 months after the end of WWII, it stood at over 108% of the GDP. This was a result of about a decade of deficit spending to relieve the Depression and win WWII.

This is not an argument about fiscal responsibility. This is an argument about priorities. There's not a single critic of Reagan who would favor literal soup Nazis down on the 16th Street Mall here in Denver, so FDR's spending was worth it. For most of them, the Great Society programs were also worth it. (In fact, the main reason the debt load of the country didn't grow in the 70s was that we taxed our way into relative solvency - for a while - although never into prosperity.)

The only way you can complain about President Reagan's deficits is if you prefer communism to Nazism, and gas lines to soup kitchens.

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