The debt increased more as a percent of GDP under President Reagan than any other president prior to him. Reagan wanted to defeat the Soviet Union, and in order to accomplish this feat, he had to make a deal with the Democrat-controlled Congress. The Democrats wanted more social programs in return for letting Reagan build up the military in the United States.
In 1996 when the Republicans controlled Congress for the first time in 40 years, they refused to slow spending and balance the budget.
President George W. Bush inherited a recession, responded to 9/11 and responded to Hurricane Katrina. Other than for these necessary expenditures, Bush was not a conservative, fiscally-responsible leader. In the next election, Republicans got their comeuppance for not sticking to their principles.
The reckless spending habits of the next administration led to the Rick Santelli rant, which gave rise to the Tea Party.
The Tea Party started because neither Democrats nor Republicans would face facts and reduce spending. It was obvious from the beginning that there was a large portion of the population who would not stand in silence any longer. They were made up of patriotic, fiscally-responsible Independents, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and other concerned citizens.
In the last few weeks there has been a lot of blame directed at the Tea Party for having created this mess we are in. Is there any doubt the Tea Party identified a problem that is threatening the solvency of the of the United States? Of course not! It was the Tea Party that shaped the debate that now dominates the conversation in Washington D.C.
Thank you, Tea Party.