|Thanks to The Pragmatic Progressive Page for the infographic.|
The war in Iraq was the first time the USA has ever gone into war without raising taxes -- and instead, Bush Republicans actually cut taxes for a second time based on a failed Reganomics idea that cutting taxes for the "job creators" in the long run leads to increased growth and a stronger economy.
Regan's "trickle-down" supply-side economic tax cuts were later reversed because the tax cuts did not boost the economy via increased revenue. Instead of reversing the double-tax cuts for the wealthy, the Bush-Cheney administration sought to make the tax cuts permanent.. which continues to be the mission of so called "Tea Party" republicans.
Before the Regan presidency in 1981, Corporate-America was paying for 32% of US Government -- today, Corporate-America pays only 10% of federal government expenses, leaving the working and middle class stuck with the rest of the bill for the education, health care, retirement and the ever growing need to be a global police force, protecting multinational corporations... in fact, the war in Iraq has become otherwise referred to as another oil war.
The USA currently has the highest number of people in prison and the highest number in prison per 1,000 population. Parallel to that number, the USA also spends 3 cents on the dollar for education and job training compared to most other nations that invest about 20 percent of the national budget in educating the next generation. Most college students in the USA owe $30k to $200k by the time they graduate, and unemployment among recent college graduates is very high -- estimated between 20 and 40%.
The biggest whammy to the economy since the 1930's came in the form of a financial investments-banking bailout of the "Too Big To Fail" global banks, based in the USA that caused a worldwide economic crash and the resulting loss of an estimated 300,000 to 700,000 jobs per month in the USA in the following year -- not to mention equally scary numbers worldwide. The primary factor in this crash was the deregulation of banking rules that had been put into place to safeguard against this kind of gambling on investments back in the 1930's. The blame-finger goes to Regan Republicans and Clinton Democrats for lifting and easing laws and regulations that allowed this to happen... and extends to both parties today for allowing these same "Too Big To Fail" global banks to become even bigger than before the crash... and by not punishing any of the "banksters" with jail time for criminal actions that crippled everyday financing, slashed everyday people's home equities aka life savings, and made close to a million people homeless via illegal home foreclosures.
This is why it makes no sense to focus on "deficit spending" and "cutting taxes" for the rich and "making government smaller." Especially when making government smaller seems always to start and finish with cutting Social Security (retirement pensions), Medicare and Medicaid health programs, and not doing enough to increase educational spending.
The USA is the only high-income country that does not consider "health care" a human right -- The Republican Party in the USA has successfully fought against any reform of the privatized health care industry for over 40 years... finally losing the battle for the first time when the Affordable Health Care Act passed (with a lot of GOP modifications) in 2010.
In the meanwhile, the US Government still has a direct-payment pipeline to big pharmaceutical companies. The US Government pays the companies top dollar for the drugs, which are in turn offered to the people of the US at very low prices ie $7. The deal was made during the Bush administration in an effort to discourage people from buying US-manufactured drugs in Canada where they cost far less due to negotiated prices. The big pharmacy companies are the only beneficiaries... the US would be better off buying the drugs from the Canadian National Health Care System.
"Defense spending" in the USA has only escalated over the years since WWII and now represents MORE than the total of what all other countries spend on defense: $600 billion per year. My only agreement with the "Tea Party" is that this obscene funding of an industrialized military complex should be drastically reduced over the years into the future and that we do not need to have a massive nuclear program, and military outposts in hundreds of countries. There's plenty of room for cuts that do not jeopardize national security -- We are only lacking in leadership top-to-bottom that is willing to make sensible changes for the benefit of the people. To that end, we the people must get $$$ out of the US State & National Elections.
Therefore, the most critical issue facing the USA is from within, and needs to be solved via a US Constitutional Amendment that reforms election campaigns. You can join the movement that has growing state support at MoveToAmend.org