With deficit-reduction fever gripping Washington, it is easy to forget that the stunning turnaround in America’s finances — from budget surpluses in the late 1990s to today’s sea of red ink — is largely the byproduct of successive presidents trying to fix yesterday’s crises. President Bush launched the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in response to 9/11, enacted Medicare Part D to help seniors cope with the rising prices of medicines, and cut taxes across the board in an effort to lower tax burdens. President Obama bailed out the banks to save the financial system, rescued the auto industry, and extended tax breaks to pull the economy out of recession.
Bilmes, Linda J. "Costly Inheritance." Boston Globe, April 27, 2011.