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Ross Perot’s timely return
The Texas billionaire is blasting the deficit again. Can his charts help?
 

What happened
H. Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire and 1992 U.S. presidential candidate, launched a Web site designed to return focus to the mounting U.S. federal debt. The site, PerotCharts, marks a return of the budget graphs and charts he effectively deployed in 1992 to make the national debt an issue and capture almost 20 percent of the vote. Perot says our debt is "almost $9.4 trillion," and rising $1 billion a day. (FOXNews.com)

What the commentators said

Perot, 78, is not getting back into politics, said David Broder in The Washington Post, but hes doing a service by unleashing his favorite weapon: those charts." Those simple visual aids "that he designed and displayed on prime-time television" conveyed to “millions of voters the stark reality of what the record deficits of the 1980s really meant." and got across the reality of this nation's "out-of-kilter budget" for the first time.


Let's hope the nation gets the message again this election season, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. "Today, the candidates aren't even paying lip service to curbing the deficit," even though with "a shaky economy, soaring federal deficits, a mounting debt burden on future generations -- it's like 1992 all over again." With everyone worried about the economy, belt-tightening is not something Americans want to hear about -- but the government simply can’t continue to spend beyond its means.

It won't be easy to get the presidential candidates to talk straight about the deficit, said John Dickerson in Slate. "Barack Obama isn't going to be brave about the trade-offs needed to fix Social Security when many Democrats don't believe there's a problem at all," and "while John McCain "John McCain is having trouble with evangelicals, he's not going to risk offending his party's other devout wing, the tax-cutters." But the deficit will force some tough decisions soon, so we should start talking honestly about it.

 

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