Wednesday, January 10, 2007

deficit spending

After Gov. Schwarzenegger proposed a new $43B bond measure last night, following the $37B measure in November for transportation and the one-time $15B measure in 2004 to refinance the general fund debt, I started thinking about how reputation may differ from action. Consider this graph of the national debt by President. What's interesting is a tendency, since Regan, to borrow and spend, just like too many people do with their credit cards. What's particularly interesting is that the pattern seems most common among Republicans, who many people regard as the party of fiscal responsibility. There are times when it's necessary and desirable to increase debt--sometimes the leverage is helpful, like when you're buying a house--but there are other times when it basically boils down to living above your means, to trying to live off those credit cards with just the minimum monthly payment. Next time you hit the ballot box, maybe it's time to give some thought to what really is fiscally responsible and which candidate is proposing what, regardless of party.

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