G.W.Bush - budget deficit Clinton - budget surplus G.H.W.Bush - budget deficit Reagan - BIG budget deficit (described as Voodoo economics by his vice-president before he became vice-president.) Carter - budget surplus, debt paid off (in the midst of huge economic turmoil) Prior to this point, the government ran pretty much a balanced budget, only going into debt during times of war or economic distress. It is the "New Republicans" who seem to think running the American taxpayer and his grandchildren into debt to benefit the wealthy is a birth rite. It is true that Democrats support programs that benefit those in need, but they also figure out how to pay for them. The extent to which the current administration and Republican dominated Congress is bankrupting us is partially hidden by the increasing amount of revenue which was previously shared with the states which is being eliminated. This is a significant part of the problem many states (who are in many cases actually required by law to have a balanced budget) are experiencing. Case in point, the "no child left behind" program W pushed for. This is actually a "no child left untested" program, with the testing federally mandated, with the cost of testing unfunded. The cost of the federally mandated law is left up to the states and local school districts to bear. So instead of your local tax dollars going to educate your child, they will now be used to test your child, with the federally approved test.