Johnson's domestic achievements included not just the passing of landmark civil rights legislation and the implementation of the Great Society program but also a sustained period of economic growth. Over the course of Johnson's presidency, GDP grew by just over a quarter, leading some commentators to proclaim, somewhat prematurely, the death of conservatism in America.
Johnson had greatly expanded the size and scope of American government, they argued, and yet the warnings of fiscal conservatives that this policy would lead to economic decline had not been borne out. With Johnson's landslide election victory over the arch-conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, it seemed that conservatism was in headlong retreat.
In any case, Johnson's achievements in running the economy were eclipsed, as with all other items of his domestic agenda, by the war in Vietnam. As the military budget ballooned, there was inevitably less money available for fighting Johnson's war on poverty. Exponential spending on the rapidly escalating conflict also greatly increased the deficit, which reached unprecedented levels by the time that Johnson left office.