Lion of the Blogosphere

Being old enough to remember the 1970s

That means being old enough to remember when Republicans complained about the budget deficit. That was back when Republicans were primarily concerned with lowering government spending (and possibly even genuinely concerned about the budget deficit).

Today Republicans are primarily concerned with lowering taxes for the rich, so today it’s Democrats who complain about the budget deficit instead of Republicans.

And I guess there’s also the fact that during brief period in my lifetime when there wasn’t a budget deficit, Clinton was president, so this is no longer seen as an issue that Republicans can use against the Democrats. (Clinton was lucky to benefit from the huge tax windfall caused by the bubble, but then George W. Bush and the Republican Congress pushed lower taxes without any compensating reduction in government spending.)

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 8, 2019 at 1:42 PM

Posted in Taxes

23 Responses

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  1. What part of the 70s are you remembering?

    At the beginning of the 70s the US was still deeply involved in the Vietnam war.

    The Pentagon Papers were leaked in 1971.

    The Watergate break in was on June 17, 1972.

    In 1973 the Paris accord ended US involvement in Vietnam.

    Nixon resigned in August 1974.

    In 1974 Patty Hearst, granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a urban guerrilla group. After being held for several months, she joined the SLA. She took part in bank robberies and escaped the police shoot out that killed most of the SLA cell that kidnapped her. She continued to work with the surviving SLA members until she arrested in 1975.

    In 1975 the South Vietnam government collapsed after an invasion from the North.

    There were two assassination attempts on President Gerald Ford in a span of 3 weeks in 1975. The first by Squeaky Fromme, a Manson follower. The second by Sara Jane Moore who was fascinated by Patty Hearst and the SLA. These are the only two female presidential assassination attempts.

    The first half of the 1970s was pretty wild and nobody was talking about budget deficits until Jimmy Carter was elected.


    January 8, 2019 at 2:30 PM

    • I am too young to remember the early 1970s.

      But I do remember reading about the coming Ice Age when I was a kid, which is why I can’t take the new coming Warm Age scare very seriously.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 8, 2019 at 2:35 PM

      • Not even when the Godfather debuted in 1972 in the movie theaters?

        I wonder what Staten Island was like at the time.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        January 8, 2019 at 6:25 PM

      • It’s weird. The stuff Lion remembers about the 70’s actually happened in the 90’s.

        Mike Street Station

        January 9, 2019 at 6:07 AM

    • I remember hostages being taken in Iran, people being mad at Jimmy Carter, Three Mile Island, Mork & Mindy premiering, and when John Travolta was the coolest guy in the world.


      January 8, 2019 at 4:50 PM

  2. It goes to show that people are tribal and will follow policies to show they are part of the tribe. It probably would make more sense to raise taxes on the rich and get revenue, but that would make it sound like you are agreeing with the liberal/Progressive tribe, so no way you will give them an inch. It shows tribal belonging is usually much more powerful than logical thinking. It will always override and sometimes influence the thinking.


    January 8, 2019 at 2:41 PM

  3. The last time the Federal government had a surplus before Clinton’s second term was in 1969, when Richard Nixon was President.

    Oswald Spengler

    January 8, 2019 at 3:08 PM

  4. Budget deficits will always be a losing issue in a democracy with a long credit line (and ours is very, very long at this time). We’ve been running deficits forever, so arguing there’s a problem is a boring nerd argument that no one really cares about.

    If the government ever gets squeezed due to its borrowing, people might care a bit more in the future, but they’ll mainly just punish whoever’s in charge when it happens.


    January 8, 2019 at 3:15 PM

  5. When it comes to the budget deficit, the Republican plan is very simple:
    1) cut the taxes, which causes the budget deficit to increase
    2) blame the deficit on prodigal liberals (it helps that only 60% of Americans know which party controls Congress)
    3) use the crisis as a pretext to privatize Social Security and Medicare.


    January 8, 2019 at 3:21 PM

  6. GOP deficit hawks used to lament during the Reagan administration that policy emphases had shifted from balancing the budget and cutting spending to cutting tax rates and spurring economic growth.

    Oswald Spengler

    January 8, 2019 at 3:32 PM

  7. Gotta agree with MikeCA – you don’t know much about the ’70’s. After Nixon’s resignation, the big issues were nuclear disarmament (i.e. arguing about Soviet intentions); pornography, abortion, and cults (moonies, EST, deprogramming). Around 1984 a Dem operative wrote a book claiming that Reagan was elected in ’80 because of black crime, but going to Berkeley ’75-79 I honestly don’t remember much concern with this. In California itself, the biggest issue was property taxes. No one ever thought the Cold War would end.


    January 8, 2019 at 5:40 PM

  8. Today Republicans are primarily concerned with lowering taxes for the rich, so today it’s Democrats who complain about the budget deficit instead of Republicans.

    The deficit is caused by Democratic entitlements.

    Raising taxes on the rich will just line the coffers of the poor and Progressive interest groups.

    Nonetheless, young Tyronius thanks you in advance for proposing a 70%-80% tax rate on the rich that goes straight into his EBT card.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    January 8, 2019 at 6:49 PM

    • The Republicans can’t reform entitlements without Democratic votes. Because Democrats will never so much as slow the rate of growth in an unsustainable welfare entitlement the fault for the deficit is with the Democrats for

      1) Creating the programs.
      2) Not allowing Republicans to change it.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      January 8, 2019 at 6:51 PM

      • Medicare is the really imminent fiscal crisis and Bush massively accelerated the crisis there with Medicare Part D. It’s less about Tyronius and more about Grandma and Doctor RipOff.


        January 9, 2019 at 12:25 AM

      • Medicare is the really imminent fiscal crisis and Bush massively accelerated the crisis there with Medicare Part D.

        Actually that worked out better by coming in under budget because there were more competitive pressures built into the program.

        But regardless of whether the money is money is going to feral negroes or the elderly, any extra tax dollars the government raises will be wasted just like most everything else.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 9, 2019 at 10:54 PM

  9. Democrat concern about the budget deficit is really just a phony argument for which the real purpose is to stop Trump. Democrats don’t care about the deficit. I think that after the tail end of the Bush administration and then during the Obama administration, some people were surprised that the US could run such huge deficits without any apparent harm. I’m in that category. I never thought the US could run like this without catastrophic consequences. Back to the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I think lots of people were genuinely concerned that the deficits were a path to ruin. Now that Bush and Obama have proved the deficit hawks wrong, at least in the short term, few people actually care about the deficit anymore.


    January 8, 2019 at 8:08 PM

    • The problem with basing your political party on budget deficits and the national debt is that no American is going to vote to lower their standard of living to reduce something they do not control. That is deficits/budgets is a politically losing argument.

      If Democrats want to go down the rode of being austerity junkies, then let them. They can reap what they sow.

      Trump carefully changed the Republican concern to economic growth and not austerity, which is a much better policy.

      Remember, Democrats intentionally run budget deficits because it triggers the stupid party to start bean-counting.


      January 9, 2019 at 1:10 AM

  10. It has been standard operating procedure for several Presidents, irrespective of ideology, to simply open up the coffers to win votes. Anyone coming across otherwise will now look like Mean Dad in comparison. This is the inevitable end game of representative democracy. We used to have things like culture and religion that used to moderate behavior and ideas, but alas, the rot is too deep now…

    There will be a financial crash, and that’s the only thing that will stop this deficit spending. QE in 2008 worked, but this time around it will just lead to debt monetization and stagflation.

    Still time to get in on gold, gold stocks, and silver. My portfolio made 15% in December, while everyone else’s entire 2018 was a wash. 🙂 🙂

    Fact Checker

    January 8, 2019 at 10:36 PM

  11. Some of my clearest recollections from the ’70s are Nixon’s resignation in ’74, Bruce Jenner (aka Caitlyn) and the ’76 Montreal Summer Olympics, “Saturday Night Fever” in ’78, and also in ’78 first hearing about the countries named Iraq and Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, and the gasoline shortages and long lines at the gas station – especially since I worked for $2/hr pumping gas at a Mobil station.

    E. Rekshun

    January 9, 2019 at 5:17 AM

  12. The “budget surplus” during the last year of Clinton’s presidency was only on paper. It was based on a projection of tax revenues due to the dot-com stock market bubble. When the bubble burst in 2000, the surplus went unrealized.


    January 9, 2019 at 11:18 AM

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