To the editor:
One of the major congressional stories of the past 10 years involves the successful shifting of the blame for the enormous budget deficits this country now "enjoys" from the Congress to the policies of Republican presidents, i.e., "Reaganomics." But the facts simply do not support this notion.The major cause of: The enormous budgets deficits we had during the 1980s, the $400 billion budget deficit this fiscal year, and future enormous deficits, is government spending out of control.
The Congress points the finger of blame at the Reagan tax cuts of the early 1980s and the simultaneous buildup of the defense sector. These factors contributed to the spending imbalance during the early 1980s, but not today. The congressional leadership would have you believe the country never recovered from reducing tax rates in the early 1980s.
What the congressional leadership doesn't tell you is that government revenues have increased nearly 90 percent during the past nine years, from $600 billion in fiscal 1983 to an estimated $1.118 trillion in fiscal 1992. Federal government revenues will exceed 19 percent of GDP this year, above the average of the past 30 years. Add in the impact of average state and local taxes, and the effective tax burden has never been higher than it is today. A shortage of revenues is clearly not the problem.
What the congressional leadership also doesn't tell you is that federal government spending will exceed 25 percent of GDP this fiscal year, the highest percentage of government encroachment into the total economy since World War II.
Under our system of government, the president has no authority to spend money - that power rests exclusively with the Congress. This year, as in previous years, the president's budget proposals were routinely declared "dead on arrival" in Congress.
It is the Congress that deserves most of the blame for irresponsible government. It is the Congress that is out of control. It is the Congress that must be held accountable.
Jeff K. Thredgold
Senior vice president and chief economist
Salt Lake City