Skip to comments.Bush? Obama? Congress Spends the Money...
Posted on 08/15/2011 1:59:35 PM PDT by pgyanke
I'm really getting tired of hearing about Bush's spending compared to Obama's (don't get me wrong, like most conservatives, I didn't approve of Bush's spending either). I'm also tired of hearing about Clinton's surplus (you know, the surplus where we continued to fall deeper in debt...).
Congress (specifically, the House) has the greatest authority over the purse. Want a better picture of federal financial management since Reagan? Here it is...
Notice that both Reagan and GHW Bush had to deal with Democratic Congresses and we had deficit spending. Clinton was prevented from implementing "Hillarycare" early in his presidency and the backlash gave us a GOP Congress. The enactment of such measures as welfare-reform by the GOP Congress gave us surpluses (at least on paper, that is).
For the first part of GW Bush's presidency, he had to deal with a stonewalling Senate after Jim Jeffords's jump. The latter part saw declining deficits.
Another thing to note from this chart is rising revenues. Reagan lowered rates... and revenues increased. Clinton raised rates... and revenues continued to increase... why? Simply because economic activity is a stronger revenue-creation vehicle than a tax increase. His tax increase wasn't enough to prevent the dot-com boom. Clinton benefited from an expanding economy... until the bottom fell out of the tech bubble, that is. Note that revenues increased sharply under GW Bush... that puts the lie to the "cost" of his tax cuts.
Then, the bottom fell out with the 2006 election and our 2008 budget deficit (the first budget passed by the Dem Congress) set a record at $459B. The election of Obama put the spending on overdrive as the Democrats had their first supermajorities in Congress with the executive branch as a rubber stamp. Here, we see the Democratic prescription for federal spending, unfettered. The result is fairly obvious.
Conclusion? Neither party is beyond reproach, however... When the GOP holds the purse, deficits decline. Tax cuts which spur economic activity increase revenues. Revenues, although not at their peak, are near historically high levels... our problem is spending, not a lack of tax revenue. When the Democrats get their way, deficits balloon.
Here ends the lesson.
Got the chart to work.
Another thing to note... no matter how much revenues increase... our Congress (of both parties) spends more than they take in.
You’re falling into their trap.
By arguing about who is the bigger spender, you prop up the left’s argument that both sides were big spenders, and thus conservatives are hypocrites for now insisting we cut spending.
I prefer the reformed addict analogy.
So what if both sides have been spending addicts in the past? It’s time to get our country “clean and sober” by stopping the spending.
Don’t play their game. Throw it back at them in a way everyone can understand. You’re trying to get off the spending drugs, and they’re acting like drug pushers trying to keep you addicted.
Not true. Congress sets the ceiling, or “not to exceed”, but the president is in no way obligated to spend it. If congress allocates $100 to the Department of Education, as chief executive, the president is well within his power to issue an executive order to the department to only spend $75 this year. The idea that the president has no responsibility in the budget is hogwash.
I didn't say the President "has no" say in the budget. I said Congress is primary. Putting a Dem Congress with a Dem Executive rubber stamped their spending to impending oblivion. The chart shows that there was at least a modicum of restraint when the GOP was in a position to block the worst of the agenda. Problem is... many of them got the same disease when given the purse. That's why all Progressives of both parties are in the cross hairs (can I say that?!).
No, I'm not. I'm showing real numbers and pointing out that although the GOP lost their fiscal heads a little the last time around (back when the Dems claimed to be fiscal hawks), the Dem agenda is driving us to financial oblivion.
That's only true with discretionary spending (that's why it's called discretionary). Our real problem is entitlements and why Democrats keep pushing for their expansion.
The president has huge influence over spending. Think back to how Bush twisted arms to get his drug entitlement through a reluctant Congress. We had a real opportunity to cut spending in the early 2000s. It didn’t happen because Bush didn’t want to.
I never said the president has no influence. However, under a GOP president with a GOP Congress, deficits were shrinking. Under a Dem president with Dem Congress, deficits are stratospheric. The GOP surely lost their way over the last few years of their majority... but nothing like the current bunch.