The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.48
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 81%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (12) from $6.48   
  • New (6) from $28.00   
  • Used (6) from $6.48   


The debate over the federal budget-and the deficit spending it tends to produce-has assumed a renewed urgency for reasons that are painfully clear to all of us. Over the past thirty-two years-from the presidency of Jimmy Carter through that of George W. Bush-the U.S. government has in fact balanced its budget in only four of them, while the fiscal challenges confronting President Obama make a balanced budget anytime soon a remote possibility. Iwan Morgan's book provides a much-needed historical perspective on this perennially troubling issue

The prominent role of Congress notwithstanding, Morgan closely examines the role of presidents in the emergence of large federal budget deficits in the 1970s and 1980s, the reduction of the deficit problem in the 1990s, and its resurrection in the early twenty-first century. He focuses in particular on presidential budget policy to show how, over five administrations, deficit reduction merely complemented rather than took precedence over political priorities-and how Democrats came to support deficit reduction as necessary to preserve the liberal state, while Republicans largely tolerated deficits in order to safeguard their tax programs. Along the way, he considers such curiosities as why Carter and Clinton sought to reduce the deficit at a high level of revenue while Reagan and Bush 43 took the low road, and why Reagan and Bush 41 pressed for constitutional change prohibiting unbalanced budgets while Carter and Clinton opposed such an amendment.

Through this historical perspective, Morgan offers an innovative analysis of the relationship between presidential budget policy and the Federal Reserve's direction of monetary policy and probes the emerging link between America's domestic public indebtedness and external indebtedness. He also provides a fresh look at the growth of the entitlement state in a generally conservative era and the failure of efforts to place it on a secure financial footing.

The Age of Deficits boldly places the budget deficit at the center of modern American political history. Morgan clearly shows that, however much our recent leaders defined the deficit as a threat, their responses to it ultimately reflected their concern with reconciling its reduction with other elements of their governing agenda.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700616855
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/6/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Iwan Morgan is professor of U.S. Studies and deputy director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London. His previous books include Eisenhower versus "The Spenders," Deficit Government: Taxing and Spending in Modern America, and, most recently, Nixon.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



1. Presidents and the Other Red Peril

2. Presidents and Balanced Budgets: A Historical Perspective

3. Jimmy Carter: Confronting the Deficit

4. Ronald Reagan: Coexisting with the Deficit

5. George H. W. Bush: Compromising on the Deficit

6. Bill Clinton: Taming the Deficit

Epilogue: Barack Obama: Dealing with Deficits and Debt in the Short Term and Long Term

Appendices: Presidential Fiscal Profiles



Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)