The last time that the United States government was debt free was in 1835 when Andrew Jackson, a democrat, was the president. The problem, of course, is that there have been too many years when the federal budget was not balanced between revenue and spending. In the last 83 years, there have only been 13 years in which the Federal government's budget didn't end the year with a deficit. The closest thing to a truly balanced budget occurred in 1938 when there was a slight deficit and happened again in 1960 when there was a small surplus.
Following the October 1929 stock market crash, President Herbert Hoover's 1930 budget surplus overtaxed the economy and was one factor that led to The Great Depression. President Harry Truman balanced the budget three years in a row from 1947-1949 and did it again for a fourth time in 1951. President Dwight Eisenhower balanced the budget two years back-to-back in 1956 and 1957 and did it a third time in 1960. The next time that the budget was balanced was in 1969 after a tax increase was passed in 1968 by President Johnson to help pay for the Vietnam War.
The only president to balance the federal budget four years in a row was Bill Clinton, who did it from 1998 to 2001. Incidentally, Democratic presidents were responsible for nine of the 13 balanced budgets that have occurred over the last 83 years.
The two presidents who increased the present national debt the most were Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both Republicans. Reagan tripled it during his two terms in office and Bush doubled it in his tenure.
Republicans presidents love to cut taxes, but they also love to spend more than they collect in taxes. That's why America is in debt today.
David L. Faust