[ExI] libertarianism

David Lubkin lubkin at unreasonable.com
Tue Oct 23 17:14:37 UTC 2018

John Clark wrote:

>But if you think it's important, only 7 presidents have left office 
>with the government owing less money as a percentage of GDP than 
>when they entered the office. The are listed below, the first two 
>made by far the largest reductions:
>  1) Harry Truman, a Democrat
>  2) Bill Clinton, a Democrat
>  3) Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican
>  4) Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat
>  5) Richard Nixon, a Republican
>  6) John Kennedy, a Democrat
>  7) Jimmy Carter, a Democrat
>It's interesting that the conventional wisdom that the Democrats are 
>the spendthrift party and the Republicans are the conservative 
>fiscally prudent party is inconsistent with the facts.

1. Source?

2. Is this percentage of GDP *at the time* or of current GDP? Since 
debts are paid with current money, why does the GDP then matter? Why 
is percentage of GDP a better measure than dollars, or perhaps 
inflation-adjusted dollars?

3. Why is the president relevant? Why not who controls the House, or 
the House and the Senate, since all budgets originate in the House 
and must be approved by the Senate? (And therefore you'd want to 
consider who controlled those chambers throughout the presidency, not 
just at its end.)

For 75% of Bill Clinton's presidency, both chambers were held by the 
Republicans. And for half of the eight years, Newt was Speaker. So 
there's a fair case he deserves more credit than Clinton.

4. They're both spendthrift parties. From a libertarian's 
perspective, it's asking do you want to be punched by Ruth Gordon, 
Mike Tyson, or George Foreman. You can argue Tyson vs. Foreman, or 
that Tyson is really Manny Pacquiao, but the gulf is so enormous 
between Ruth Gordon and anyone else that it's a pointless distinction.

-- David.

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