During the postwar years there was a remarkable centrism. Both parties attempted to use government productively. Taxes were higher, but deficits were under control. Republican presidents like Dwight Eisenhower used government to create jobs and build the Interstate system, which had an incredible multiplier effect for commerce (i.e., cheap & reliable shipping). We got something in return for our high taxes. Government funded university research during the Cold War and the partnership yielded incredible technology which was seeded to the private sector. There was a balance between government and the private sector which was good for the economy. BUT THEN We had Vietnam, Watergate, and Stagflation . . . And a door opened for Big Business, which wanted lower taxes, cheap labor, and no regulations. Meaning: business needed to wage a war against government . . . so they went shopping for a political party. Enter Ronald Reagan, who carried the sword for big business, saying government was the problem. He told America to stop giving government so much money. America trusted Reagan. Reagan lowered taxes more than any president in history, saying that "if we give government less money, it won't spend as much". The Reagan rates haven't changed in 30 years, save a cosmetic amount under Clinton (from 35 to 39%). For 30 years we have lived in the tax universe Reagan created. And we live under the logic that government won't spend as much if you give it less tax money Reagan was wrong. Government kept on spending. (And Reagan was one of the biggest spenders. He nearly tripled Carter) For each dollar Ronnie took from social programs, he put three dollars in the Pentagon, creating a network of global bases to protect the global market system (so toasters from Taiwan could get to Toldeo, and oil from Iraq could get to Schenectady). Bush 43 was no better: he spent more than any Republican president in history. Great conservative presidents could not resist spending like drunken sailors. By lowering taxes so much these presidents basically put the tab on future generations. Attention Republican Presidents: if you are going to spend so much, you have to pay for it. You can't just hand out tax breaks before the bill comes. Someone has to pay that bill. Ever since Reagan convinced us to lower taxes, the nation has been in a deficit crisis - it simply never has enough money, so it goes deeper and deeper into debt. In the 80s, the Reagan deficits were not a big deal because we still had a solvent middle class consumer, and corporations were more tied to American labor. Unfortunately, 30 years of deficits and shipping middle class jobs to Asia have taken their toll. Have the structural deficits started by Reagan worked? What if we got punk'd in 1980 . . .