The Republican Party has recently settled on "we must reduce the deficit" as one of their rallying cries. The country is going broke, they cry, and it's the Democrats' fault, those "tax and spend" Democrats.
I didn't notice them worrying about the country going broke under the George W. Bush administration, when they approved off-budget funding for two wars. Did they think the money would fall from the sky?
George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus from the Clinton administration, which he "gave back to the taxpayers" (mostly to very rich taxpayers) to such an extent that his second administration would have been in the hole even without The Crash. Republicans never complained about potential deficits when they passed the Bush tax cuts, which I personally think should be allowed to expire for everyone, including the middle class. Tax rates under Clinton just weren't that high.
Both parties were complicit in the campaign to make everybody a homeowner, even people who couldn't afford it. But removing the regulations on the financial industry which made the eventual crash so much worse? Republicans. Repealing Glass-Steagall, without which move we wouldn't have HAD to bail out the unmentionable banks? Republicans. Appointing a Wall Street power as Secretary of the Treasury? (Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!) George W. Bush. Some Democrats voted for these moves, but Republicans drove them.
I concede that President Obama's appointee as Secretary of the Treasury also leaves a lot to be desired (can't pay his taxes, and sounds like a high school valedictorian - I just can't take him seriously) - but in Obama's defense, he took office in the middle of the worst financial crisis of the last 80 years, and Geithner was in the middle of the mess in his role at the Fed and could hit the ground running.
My point here is that Republicans only worry about the deficit the country has run up when the Democrats want to pass legislation that might help people who are not rich get back on their feet and maybe get a job. When they want to extend the Bush tax cuts, which would mainly benefit the very rich, they never mention the deficit. Their whole attitude is, we got ours, now pull up the ladder, anybody who hasn't already got theirs doesn't deserve it anyway. And it's ugly. If we want to turn the U.S. into a 3rd world country, this is the road to take - the U.S. Gini coefficient is very close to its highest historical level since they began recording in 1967.