The People's Money

Hi, everybody! I’m the Ethical Werewolf. As my first post on Ezra's blog, I'd like to point out a nice little pattern that has held over the last 16 years of budget history: In every year when a Democrat has controlled the White House, the deficit has gone down (or the surplus has gone up). And in every year when a Republican has controlled the White House, the deficit has gotten worse or we've lost surplus. While this won't come as a big surprise to those of us in the wonkosphere, I'd bet that most Americans haven't fathomed the depths of Republican fiscal depravity. Pre-election polls that I can't find anymore gave Democrats a slight advantage on budget-related issues, but nowhere near what the 16-year streak would justify.

A serious push to make people know that we're way better on fiscal stuff is especially important given how the Tom DeLay scandals are going. You earn cred as a reformer coming to clean up Washington by showing your commitment to taking care of the people's money. (You lose cred if your party is spending $1.5 million dollars building a bus stop.) Earnest talk about deficit reduction was one of the reasons that a paranoid billionaire who dropped out of the race was able to garner 19% of the vote in 1992. We've got the stereotypical garb of good honest reformers in the closet, and I'd like to see us wear our deficit-reduction pants more often.

--Neil the Werewolf