Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bush -- Biggest Spender In 30 Years

From the conservative (libertarian) CATO Institute:
President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn’t cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.

Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush’s first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton’s last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush’s first term.

The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.

The GOP was once effective at controlling nondefense spending. The final nondefense budgets under Clinton were a combined $57 billion smaller than what he proposed from 1996 to 2001. Under Bush, Congress passed budgets that spent a total of $91 billion more than the president requested for domestic programs. Bush signed every one of those bills during his first term. Even if Congress passes Bush’s new budget exactly as proposed, not a single cabinet-level agency will be smaller than when Bush assumed office.

Republicans could reform the budget rules that stack the deck in favor of more spending. Unfortunately, senior House Republicans are fighting the changes. The GOP establishment in Washington today has become a defender of big government.
Bush and his Republican colleagues in congress have spent more than Clinton or Carter and certainly more than any other Republican, and he's done all this while simultaneously cutting taxes dramatically. If Bush was a CEO he would have been booted out years ago for such recklessness.

I'm all in favor of getting back to the old debate between higher taxes with increased services versus lower taxes and decreased services -- both sides are logically consistent have real advantages and disadvantages -- but nobody, nobody should be in favor of this reckless combination of spending and tax cuts. There are many reasons why I have a bumpersticker claiming Bush is the "worst president ever", but this is by far the main reason. Nothing more clearly demonstrates the idiocies of this president's policies. Personally, I believe most of his policies are at about the same level, but this one is so obvious everyone should see it.

Clinton saved us from that deficit only a few years ago and we threw it all away. We may have to wait another generation before we see another president with enough guts to hold down spending while keeping taxes high enough to pay for what services are there. The success of the 90's should prove that such policies, at a minimum, don't produce the doom and gloom scenarios Republicans claim.

Good government. Not dramatic government, not exciting government, just a bunch of smart guys with our best interests in mind doing the right thing. Is that too much to ask for? Can we have that again?

(Hat tip: Pacificus)