Just like the best times in our nation's economic history were when we taxed the rich, so the best times were when we spent that money investing in things that were good for everyone, for society, for our nation.
Not so today. In Milton Friedman we trust. We believe that government is wasteful, that paying for government should be done by borrowing, and fear that government is growing voraciously when it is shrinking. Shrinking the good that government does as well.
(Oh, notice the census spikes every ten years. Cool!)
(Also, the gray areas are recessions by the technical definition of such.)