Ben posted an interesting link on Facebook to a NY Times editorial piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24sun4.html?_r=1&ref=to...
Basically, roughly 60% of the deficit from 2001 on was caused by Bush's tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan/Iraq. The rest is the stimulus, TARP, medicare-drug relief, and non-defense discretionary spending.
If you read the histories of any empire, the hardest things to do is raise money for wars. Empires flourish when economic growth drives them, not conquest.
I've never been a fan of either war, especially Iraq, where we had no reason to be. Afghanistan I understand to a point, but 10 years is severely stretching that point. If this data is accurate, then there's some justification, at least economically, for my point of view.
As for the tax cuts, I'd like the break-down as to who receives them (categorized by income, meaning are the rich reaping the most benefits of the tax cuts?) I am by no means poor, but think some of the tax incentives have been helping in promoting alternative energies (like solar and geothermal, which are stating to work).
My steps to fix the deficit
The government needs to help create more NON-governmental jobs. More jobs means more people paying taxes.
Don't let people making over $250,000 year use tax credits/breaks. Fix loopholes that allow GE to not pay any taxes in a year.
Get out of Afghanistan/Iraq. If we need to make a point, make it quickly the get out. Protracted occupation doesn't work.