Every Senate Democrat and three Republicans voted against increasing US debt to its highest levels in history. The United States' near-bankrupt condition in 2006 evolved over merely five years, when President George Bush inherited from President Bill Clinton a record-setting US budget surplus.
Reported CNN on September 27, 2000, " President Clinton announced Wednesday that the federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 amounted to at least $230 billion, making it the largest in U.S. history and topping last year's record surplus of $122.7 billion. Clinton said... 'When Vice President Gore and I took office, the budget deficit was $290 billion, and it was projected this year the budget deficit would be $455 billion.' Instead, the president explained, the $5.7 trillion national debt has been reduced by $360 billion in the last three years -- $223 billion this year alone. " Ah...the good old days of national leadership by America's true compassionate fiscal-conservatives, the Democrats.
Per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Bush tax cuts for only fiscal years 2001 to 2003 gave tax breaks of $917 billion for America's wealthiest 1%, with $2.3 trillion more spread from 2004 and beyond. And per respected think-tank Center for American Progress, " (Tax) revenue for fiscal year 2004 as a percentage of gross domestic product was at its lowest level in nearly 50 years-leading to massive deficits and harmful cuts to many vital public investments and services. "
Of course, the Republican-led Congress has now approved spending over $425 billion on the Iraq War. Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard University adjunct lecturer Linda Bilmes conservatively project that the Iraq War will ultimately cost American taxpayers $2 trillion.
And yet.....gluttinous spending-spree lessons still unlearned....the Republican-led Senate yesterday approved a $2.8 trillion election-year budget that broke the new spending limits only hours after it increased the federal debt-limit to avert a government default.
"...the Senate approved the $2.8 trillion budget by only 51 to 49 with five Republicans defecting. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana was the sole Democrat to back the budget after winning agreement for a new $10 billion effort for levee rebuilding and coastal protection to be paid for out of oil royalties and other sources," reports the New York Times today.
It seems odd that Republicans deride Democrats as the party of big-spending devotees of big-government.....when government has never been bigger or more in debt than under President George W. Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress. Odd and wholly inaccurate.
Democrats believe in an intelligent balance of fiscal responsibility and discipline, strong national security, support for the education and health of all Americans, and reasoned compassion for the poor, hungry and homeless.
Judging by their actions, Republicans believe in pork-laden "budgets" that richly reward millionaires and corporations, and spend trillions on secret surveillance of...well, everyone....while grotesquely building up the US military to be the biggest, deadliest and most costly in the history of the world.
And despite hitting record-level spending highs , Republican budgets of the 21st century still manage to radically cut funds for education, healthcare for millions, homeland security for local and state responders, benefits for veterans and innumerable programs essential to the everyday lives of most Americans. According to the 9/11 Commission, national security remains in a shambles. (And they tried to steal our Social Security, too!)
I can only agree with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid when he uttered about George Bush, "I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had."
Related Article - Profile of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada
Recommended Reading -- US Spends Its Way to 28 Eiffel Towers: Made Out of Pure Gold from the London Times on March 17, 2006