We had a balanced budget in 2000. Four things moved us from balance to record deficits:
- The Bush tax cuts
- Unfunded wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) paid for through supplemental spending bills, not included in the regular budget process by the Bush administration
- The Medicaire prescription drug benefit
- A deep recession
When I talk about the wars, I would argue that we have won absolutely nothing in Iraq, where violence is on the rise and most Iraqis see America as the enemy. We also can't win anything in Afghanistan. It's time to get out of both places expeditiously. This is one area where Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is right. We also need to look at how valuable other overseas troop deployments are and how many are cold war relics.
I like lower taxes as much as anyone, but... eliminating the Bush tax cuts for everyone slashes $4 trillion from the deficit and would have the largest impact in terms of getting our financial house in order.