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Thom Hartmann: Republicans ran up the debt & now they don't want to pay the bills

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What our nation is faced with today is a mountain of debt run up mostly by 3 Republican Presidents - Ronald Reagan - and the two Bushes. And now today - that very same Republican Party is saying "no way" to Democrats who just want to pay off that pile of Republican debt. Think about it this way - the Republicans ran up a huge credit card bill, and now they're refusing to pay for it. They took the good times - the stimulation to the economy from all that spending and the political benefits from all those wars - and now they don't want to pay for it. If you or I did that with our credit card - and did it intentionally - we'd be in jail.
Here is why we are in debt. Before Reagan took office - our national debt was just under one trillion dollars and our top tax rate was 74%. But Reagan promised the nation good times - so he gave all his rich buddies tax cuts - and then put $2 trillion on the nation's credit card. Reagan borrowed and spent - in just 8 years - more money than every president of the United States from George Washington to Jimmy Carter - COMBINED. And now the Republicans don't want to pay the bill for Reagan's debt.
Then George H.W. Bush came in and kept running up the nation's crdit card  so that by the time he left office 4 years later - he added another one and a half trillion dollars to the bill. And today the Republicans don't want to pay Herbert Walker's debt off, either. That's two Republican Presidents in a row - blowing up our national debt from just under 1 trillion dollars to well over $4.3 trillion dollars in 12 years.
Then Bill Clinton came into office - raised taxes on the rich - and slowed down the growing national debt. Even though Clinton tacked on another $1 trillion dollars to the national debt by the time he left office in 2001 - he had our nation running a budget surplus and poised to pay off our ENTIRE national debt in just ten years - by 2010. So here we have 2 Republicans - Reagan and Bush running up a huge debt - and a Democrat - Bill Clinton figuring out a way to pay it off.
Then George W. Bush galloped into town. Like Reagan - Bush promised his billionaire funders and family friends good times - so he cut taxes again for the rich.
And to give himself a shoo-in victory in 2004 - Bush strted two wars. And he paid for all of this stuff the same way Reagan and Herbert Bush had paid for it - by putting it on the national credit card. It took Bush only one year to turn Bill Clinton's budget surplus into a budget deficit.
So...after 8 years in the White House - George W. Bush took the $5.7 trillio dollar debt he inherited from mostly Reagan and his dad - and turned it into a $10.4 trillion dollar heap of debt to hand over to President Obama - with a nice little bonus gift of a Republican Great Depression. In total - Bush added over $4.5 trillion dollars to the national debt. And Republicans don't want to pay off Bush's credit card bill, either. But while Bush was piling on the debt - Republicans in Congress had no problem raising the credit limit - the debt ceiling - 7 different times.
In all - by the time President Obama took office in 2009 - Reaganomics had jacked our national debt up by nearly 9 trillion dollars. And nearly 8 trillion dollars of that debt was courtesy of 3 Republican Presidents. THIS is what this so-called debt-limit debate today is all about.
This debate isn't not about out-of-control spending - or "big government" under President Obama -  it's about Republicans not wanting to pay the bills their own guys ran up unless they get some goodie. Imagine what would happen if you ran up a huge credit card bill and then called Citibank and said you'd only pay it off if they gave you whatever yo wanted? How would the police take your offer to pay off your credit card bill ONLY if the bank sent you and a dozen friends on an all-expenses-paid trip to Disneyland?  But when Republicans ran up a $9 trillion debt - and now don't want to pay it unless they get their wish-list - the media doesn't even mention how it all came about. This is a crime - and if Republicans REALLY are willing to crash the economy just to avoid paying off their own bills - then they should be charged with financial fraud and thrown in  prison - and never allowed to handle the nation's finances again.
And those Democrats who are too timid to call this theft from all of us what it is - intentional fraud that even had a name - "starve the beast" was what Reagan called he strategy - those timid Democrats deserve whatever the voters give them.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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