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In his anti-earmarks video that's caused such a stir today, Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts says that he was a Kennedy Democrat who became a Republican because Reagan cut spending, and then became an independent because George W. Bush increased spending.
That's not really historically accurate. Deficits have increased under Republican administrations since Truman, but that's not a complete picture either; the deficit under Reagan looks bad in part because the recession dropped revenues during the early years of his administration. If you scroll down to spending, you may note that the combined efforts of the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton actually brought government spending under 20% of GDP for the first time since the Nixon administration. If you want to really get deep in the weeds, this (PDF) from the GPO is a wealth of information on the US budget over different historical periods.