Deficit History

By September 21, 2010


In your article on Tom McClintock’s town hall meeting in the July 9 edition there is an interesting example of his selective memory concerning the record of President Reagan. After he had expressed outrage at the free-wheeling spending policies of George W. Bush comes the sentence, “He credited Bill Clinton’s four years of maintaining a balanced budget and even tipped his hat to JFK and Harry Truman for their economic policies — not as good as those of Ronald Reagan — but not as bad as President Bush’s.” In fact, during 1981-88 while Reagan was president the average annual federal deficit was more than $166 billion, and in 1986 it was $221 billion. The largest annual deficit prior to 1981 was less than $74 billion. (Source: Historical Tables, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2011, OMB,



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