Vanguard Mutual Fund sends me junk-mail articles like this https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/article/red-ink-092012 by David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
His explanation of how we went from U.S. federal surplus to deficit is just like I've been saying. Vanguard, David Wessel, and the Wall Street Journal have to be more conservative than liberal:
"First, the economy did a lot worse than anybody expected; the housing bubble burst; we had the financial crisis; we had a big recession. That cut the income to the government and made them spend more on various benefits like unemployment.
Second, Congress cut taxes repeatedly, and so there was less revenue than we had anticipated at the beginning of the 2000s.
Third, the government spent more—a lot more. A couple wars, expansion of Medicare, the bank bailouts. And so, when you have less revenue coming in, you cut taxes, and you spend more than you had projected, you end up with a deficit.
If you have a deficit, you have to pay more interest, so the fourth leg was more interest payments."
Notice he didn't mention any programs that Obama put through like Obama-care - which (arguably?) is budget neutral.