I have no interest in the political battle over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, but I came across this commentary by David Brinkley, one of the "homilies" he used to deliver at the end of every broadcast of This Week with David Brinkley on ABC television. This was published in his book Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion (1996) (p. 85). From August 3, 1986:
Next week Congress will be voting to set a new and higher federal government debt limit, to give the Treasury power to borrow still more money. Even though in the last three or four years--if we can believe the claims coming from the White House and Congress--the deficit has been wiped out and there's no need to borrow any more.
In 1981 the White House claimed it had cut $130 billion out of future spending.
In 1982 Congress passed something called the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act and claimed it would reduce the deficit by an additional $100 billion.
In 1984 there was the Deficit Reduction Act, claiming to save still another $60 billion.
And a lot of others.
But somehow, the more they've claimed to cut spending, the higher the deficit has risen. It's well over $200 billion a year, every year.