The unfortunate fellow who was president as this took place was George H.W. Bush. Previously a fierce critic of his forerunner's economic strategies, he nonetheless received a disproportionate amount of blame for them. He tried a myriad of steps to remedy the problems, but found less and less luck as those pages on the calendar kept turning. Bush ran for a second term, but was defeated by Bill Clinton, who first employed a series of hardcore Keynesian moves which met with widespread public disapproval. Eventually, he devised a hybrid approach combining both Austrian and Keynesian elements. Streamlining wasteful public assistance programs that had devolved into career welfare opportunities and hiking taxes on the upper classes, Clinton made the government so austere that it finally had a surplus.
Austerity did not last for long. George W. Bush, H.W.'s son and a new president for a new millennium, transformed Clinton's surplus into a staggering deficit by lowering tax rates while increasing spending. Though Bush II didn't have much choice on the tax rates; as he plunged the country into war, America's fiscal house began to crumble like the proverbial house of cards. Total implosion took a bit longer, though; not until the global financial crisis of the late 2000s, skillfully maneuvered by the smartest guys in the room on Wall Street, that sent everything straight into the ground.
Fortunately, or so it seemed, one man had the ability to fix this all up with a brand of change that everyone could believe in. Barack Obama's decidedly Keynesian plan, flavored by social justice principles, was never truly realized, however. Congress and the public had their own ideas, and a colossal bickering war erupted. Of course, as the prolonged battle wore on, conditions on the ground worsened considerably. The economic stimulus package crafted to relieve many a woe turned out to be, in large part, an audacious bipartisan scheme to repay select special interest groups. By the time Obama was nearly done with his first term, nobody could really agree about anything, because no one wanted to listen to what the other side had to say. All Austrian, or all Keynesian; no Clintonian Third Way; never!