Revenue Problem, or Spending Problem?
I think this chart answers that pretty definitively. Revenue has gone up in the last 30 years, spending has just gone up a lot more. These numbers are from the OMB and are in constant dollars, so they take into account inflation.
From 1980 to 2012, Revenue is $892 Billion higher. Does that sound like taxes have just gotten too low?
In the same 32 years, spending is $1,844 Billion higher. Hmm... I think we see why our deficit is so high now....
Some try to blame tax cuts, but look at what happens to federal government receipts after each major tax cut bill takes effect. The trend seems to be an increase, not a drop. True, the economy "happens" to improve about the same time. Don't you wish we could see that same coincidence happen again? My unemployed neighbors would.
Certainly, the revenue decreases correspond with major economic downturns, but overall the trend is up. Almost double, in fact. You can say that a growing population demands higher services, but the population has only increased 35% or so in the same time period. Spending has almost tripled in that same time frame. Can't explain it with just population changes.
No, The Federal government is just spending more, year after year.
Who's responsible? The rate of increase changes depending on who is in charge, but most of the politicians in DC on both sides have a hand in the responsibility. Congress is the one that ultimately authorizes spending. The President can only sign or veto it. So the President is partially responsible and has some power in the process, especially after a big election win, but the group controlling Congress is more responsible for spending, especially after the President's party loses a midterm election.
We can argue about what exact spending should get cut, but don't let anyone fool you into thinking that tax rate changes are the issue here. It's spending, plain and simple.
The Republicans spent too much under GW Bush. The Democrats spent too much under Reagan and Obama. About the only time spending was relatively flat was under the opposed control of Dems opposing Bush Senior and Reps opposing Clinton. Never really goes down, of course...