This article was originally published at The American Conservative on October 15, 2022. Read the full piece here.
President Dwight Eisenhower was the most fiscally conservative president of the past ninety years, yet he also expanded the scope and power of the state to fight and win the Cold War. Among the most successful of Eisenhower’s new institutions was what is now known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.
No Republican president since has come close to Eisenhower’s record of balancing the budget three times in eight years, cutting the federal workforce by more than 10 percent, slimming federal expenditures from 21 percent of GNP to 15 percent in his last budget, and reducing the ratio of national debt to GNP. At the same time, his global strategy of containing communism entailed major investments in education and research, huge infrastructural projects such as the national highway program, and the creation of new government agencies, departments, and other bodies.