The Other Half of History Daily Blog

Thoughts on modern politics from a historical perspective.

Government Spending and the “Bill Clinton Surplus”

During this election year, politicians and journalists are talking a great deal about the federal deficit, and what should be done to reduce it. Liberals claim that there’s a need for “revenue improvements,” a euphemistic way of saying tax rate increases. Conservatives and libertarians tend to suggest cuts in the rate of government spending.

A glance at recent history shows that the conservatives and libertarians stand on firmer ground.
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Unemployment and Government “Help”

When the latest job figures came out a couple days ago, representatives of the Obama administration quickly went before the press to boast that the unemployment rate was “only” 8.5%, thanks to the President’s interventions in the economy.

This was not the first time a left wing administration impaired the ability of the American economy to recover from a downturn, while claiming to provide indispensable assistance.

When the stock market crashed in October of 1929 the American unemployment rate shot up to 9%. American businesses and workers quickly made adjustments, as they had during previous depressions, and by June of the next year unemployment was down to 6.3%. The government started “helping,’ and soon the unemployment rate was up to an unprecedented 25%.

What America needs is a President who will stop “helping,” and get out of the way.

Does the Government Need More Revenue?

So I’ve been thinking about this issue of our poor, cash-starved federal government. The press has done a fantastic job of making ordinary Americans believe that the government needs “revenue increases” to balance the budget. The biased coverage has led  many Americans to believe that tax increases must be part of any rational attempt to balance the budget.
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