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CATO Institute lambastes President Bush
CATO Institute ^ | July 31, 2003 | Veronique de Rugy and Tad DeHaven

Posted on 08/01/2003 6:05:23 PM PDT by Harlequin

The Bush administration's newly released budget projections reveal an anticipated budget deficit of $450 billion for the current fiscal year, up another $151 billion since February. Supporters and critics of the administration are tripping over themselves to blame the deficit on tax cuts, the war, and a slow economy. But the fact is we have mounting deficits because George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the "Mother of All Big Spenders."

The new estimates show that, under Bush, total outlays will have risen $408 billion in just three years to $2.272 trillion: an enormous increase in federal spending of 22 percent. Administration officials privately admit that spending is too high. Yet they argue that deficits are appropriate in times of war and recession. So, is it true that the war on terrorism has resulted in an increase in defense spending? Yes. And, is it also true that a slow economy has meant a decreased stream of tax revenues to pay for government? Yes again.

But the real truth is that national defense is far from being responsible for all of the spending increases. According to the new numbers, defense spending will have risen by about 34 percent since Bush came into office. But, at the same time, non-defense discretionary spending will have skyrocketed by almost 28 percent. Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Now, most rational people would cut back on their spending if they knew their income was going to be reduced in the near future. Any smart company would look to cut costs should the business climate take a turn for the worse. But the administration has been free spending into the face of a recessionary economy from day one without making any serious attempt to reduce costs.

The White House spinmeisters insist that we keep the size of the deficit "in perspective." Sure it's appropriate that the budget deficit should be measured against the relative size of the economy. Today, the projected budget deficit represents 4.2 percent of the nation's GDP. Thus the folks in the Bush administration pat themselves on the back while they remind us that in the 1980s the economy handled deficits of 6 percent. So what? Apparently this administration seems to think that achieving low standards instead of the lowest is supposed to be comforting.

That the nation's budgetary situation continues to deteriorate is because the administration's fiscal policy has been decidedly more about politics than policy. Even the tax cuts, which happened to be good policy, were still political in nature considering their appeal to the Republican's conservative base. At the same time, the politicos running the Bush reelection machine have consistently tried to placate or silence the liberals and special interests by throwing money at their every whim and desire. In mathematical terms, the administration calculates that satiated conservatives plus silenced liberals equals reelection.

How else can one explain the administration publishing a glossy report criticizing farm programs and then proceeding to sign a farm bill that expands those same programs? How else can one explain the administration acknowledging that entitlements are going to bankrupt the nation if left unreformed yet pushing the largest historical expansion in Medicare one year before the election? Such blatant political maneuvering can only be described as Clintonian.

But perhaps we are being unfair to former President Clinton. After all, in inflation-adjusted terms, Clinton had overseen a total spending increase of only 3.5 percent at the same point in his administration. More importantly, after his first three years in office, non-defense discretionary spending actually went down by 0.7 percent. This is contrasted by Bush's three-year total spending increase of 15.6 percent and a 20.8 percent explosion in non-defense discretionary spending.

Sadly, the Bush administration has consistently sacrificed sound policy to the god of political expediency. From farm subsidies to Medicare expansion, purchasing reelection votes has consistently trumped principle. In fact, what we have now is a president who spends like Carter and panders like Clinton. Our only hope is that the exploding deficit will finally cause the administration to get serious about controlling spending.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cato; conservative; economic; libertarians
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Comment #1 Removed by Moderator

To: Harlequin
I think that this will ultimately result in a "one-term" GWB presidency.
2 posted on 08/01/2003 6:10:24 PM PDT by zchip
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To: Harlequin
Here in California, we are recalling a governor for his wasteful spending, which led to a record budget shortfall .....
3 posted on 08/01/2003 6:13:52 PM PDT by studly hungwell (A conservative Californian who hates what has become of California)
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Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending
increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Well, we all know the Department of Education is doing such a swell job indoctrinating our kids.  Even if they fail to teach them to read or do math and then feed test answers to them before-hand, some things are just more imporant than others.  < /sarcasm >

That 70% figure is shocking.

4 posted on 08/01/2003 6:14:15 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: zchip
Hmmm, why was post #1 removed?
5 posted on 08/01/2003 6:15:47 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: Mr. Mojo
My fault. I was rather upset, and my language wasn't appropriate.

I expressed excessive astonishment at the figures and the report in general. Apologies to all.
6 posted on 08/01/2003 6:17:31 PM PDT by Harlequin (the difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than in theory)
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To: Harlequin
Astonishing, indeed...


7 posted on 08/01/2003 6:18:40 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Harlequin
What the f**K is GWB doing?

Exactly what any socialist does when in power:
Rob Tax peter to by Paul's vote.

I didn't leave the Republican party; they left me.

8 posted on 08/01/2003 6:19:12 PM PDT by paulk
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To: Harlequin
No problems. But you should've put in the original title, which is:

'Conservative' Bush Spends More than 'Liberal' Presidents Clinton, Carter

9 posted on 08/01/2003 6:19:26 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: Harlequin
I think we're all upset. Don't beat yourself up over it. This just plain sucks!
10 posted on 08/01/2003 6:20:23 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Harlequin
Well if you had bothered to search on the correct title of the article, you'd also have found it was already posted.

'Conservative' Bush Spends More than 'Liberal' Presidents Clinton, Carter

11 posted on 08/01/2003 6:21:52 PM PDT by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: paulk
I didn't leave the Republican party; they it left me.

Yep, that's a keeper.  No truer words were ever spoken.  How sad.

12 posted on 08/01/2003 6:22:38 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: zchip
I think that this will ultimately result in a "one-term" GWB presidency.

It may not, but perhaps it should.

Just maybe, if we had a DemocRAT president, the Republican House and Senate would start to apply some constraints. They sure as hell aren't as long as they have a president who is "triangulating" and pandering to Teddy Kennedy, et al.

13 posted on 08/01/2003 6:24:49 PM PDT by jackbill
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To: zchip
Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.

I think that this will ultimately result in a "one-term" GWB presidency.

It sure will if there are any more revelations like this one.

And you can take that to the bank!

14 posted on 08/01/2003 6:24:57 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Californians are as dumm as a sack of rocks)
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To: DoughtyOne
This just plain sucks!

Indeed it does. But I don't recall ever hearing GWB say he was a "small gov't" conservative. The only prefix we've been hearing is "compassionate." ....And unfortunately in this case, "compassionate" translates to "loose with the taxpayers' money."

15 posted on 08/01/2003 6:25:08 PM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: Mr. Mojo
You're preaching to a choir member. ;-)

As a man I like Bush. As a President I like...

...I like to eat steak and potatoes for dinner.
16 posted on 08/01/2003 6:27:37 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Willie Green
I did a search, but didn't find it posted.

"There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your search engines."
17 posted on 08/01/2003 6:28:48 PM PDT by Harlequin (the difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than in theory)
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To: DoughtyOne
"I didn't leave the Republican party; they it left me."

Yep, that's a keeper....If you collect stale tripe.

No truer words were ever spoken....Needlepoint it on your pillow.

How sad....How French.

18 posted on 08/01/2003 6:30:54 PM PDT by Consort
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To: zchip
I agree,GWB is history.

I was roundly criticised the first time I posted this on F.R. but the tide seems to be turning.

The President has lost all perspective as far as the domestic problems go,he's trying too hard to be a world leader(and failing),instead of our leader.
19 posted on 08/01/2003 6:32:24 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Mr. Mojo
IMHO Bush is actually doing more damage than Clinton in that Bush is ultimately destroying the Republican party. The Bush gang is made up of mostly old Dole people - remember "the tax collector for the welfare state"?

I can't vote for him - I don't want my kids to grow up under socialism.

20 posted on 08/01/2003 6:33:32 PM PDT by paulk
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To: All
Eighteen posts of bitchin', following an entire article of bitchin'.

Not one solution (other than electing a Democrat for president), and not one viable candidate thus far to be seen.
21 posted on 08/01/2003 6:34:17 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: AntiGuv
I don't know what that table is meant to portray, but I think it's very misleading to compare actual "discretionary % change" with proposed "deiscretionary % change through 2004" without providing further background.

A percent change from what? I wouldn't expect the difference in "discretionary spending" from say, 1980 to 1984 to be the same as between "2001 and projected 2004" because the world is different today.

Bogus and meaningless chart.
22 posted on 08/01/2003 6:35:14 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: Consort
Thank you.
23 posted on 08/01/2003 6:35:16 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: Consort
If you collect stale tripe

Hmm.. you think a ronald Reagan quote is stale tripe???

You must be a "Yellow dog" Republican. Why support any one who is expanding government? What difference is the name of the party if they are selling you out?

24 posted on 08/01/2003 6:36:57 PM PDT by paulk
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To: Luis Gonzalez
My solution is simple and assumed: the Republican Party needs to become Republican all over again.

Republican Contract With America

As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

This year's election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

Thereafter, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny.

1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses. (Bill Text) (Description)

2. THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's "crime" bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools. (Bill Text) (Description)

3. THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility. (Bill Text) (Description)

4. THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society. (Bill Text) (Description)

5. THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: A S500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief. (Bill Text) (Description)

6. THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: No U.S. troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world. (Bill Text) (Description)

7. THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years. (Bill Text) (Description)

8. THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages. (Bill Text) (Description)

9. THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: "Loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation. (Bill Text) (Description)

10. THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators. (Description)

Further, we will instruct the House Budget Committee to report to the floor and we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation described above, to ensure that the Federal budget deficit will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills.

Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.



25 posted on 08/01/2003 6:39:30 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: zchip
bump
26 posted on 08/01/2003 6:39:45 PM PDT by iconoclast
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To: paulk
What was his quote? I don't mean the one about the Eleventh Commandment.
27 posted on 08/01/2003 6:40:15 PM PDT by Consort
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To: Mudbug
A percent change from what?

From Carter's and Clinton's last budget, respectively...

Bogus and meaningless chart.

Umm, no. Just because you don't like what the chart says doesn't make it bogus and meaningless. Sorry 'bout that...

28 posted on 08/01/2003 6:41:25 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Not one solution (other than electing a Democrat for president),

How about looking ath the Libertarians?

Once you lose your economic freedom the other freedoms don't mean much. What difference is there between the Democrats and Republicans? The Republicans are just Democarates from 15 years ago. I don't like it, but it is true. I miss RR.

29 posted on 08/01/2003 6:42:04 PM PDT by paulk
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To: Mudbug
And on this:

I don't know what that table is meant to portray...

It's self-evidently meant to portray the expansion of welfare and pork spending under Bush, versus the contraction of welfare and pork spending under Reagan.

30 posted on 08/01/2003 6:42:45 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Did you expect any less Luis?
31 posted on 08/01/2003 6:45:40 PM PDT by CWOJackson (First the Republican Party, then the Reform Party, next the Tupperware Party)
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To: DoughtyOne
Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Yes, W panders. Yes, I hate the big spending. Yes, the medicare drug thing will cost trillions.

Dems have talked more about balanced budgets than Pubbies, but spending and policies are two different things. Dem policies are awful; keep them out of power!

Set spending aside for a moment; we have no choice anyway but to try to look for silver linings. W has some good instincts about effective policy, and deep down his economics are from Milton Friedman school; I consider that a good thing. The second term may not be devoted to stopping spending, but I predict a strong rise in the notion of gov't accountability, especially in education policy.

32 posted on 08/01/2003 6:48:39 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: CWOJackson
See post #25 - and the objection is frivolous. The solution is obvious and assumed within the criticism. If spending is criticized, the solution is obviously a cut in spending.... Perhaps GWB should begin vetoing a spending bill once in a while if this GOP Congress cannot otherwise restrain spending. Reagan [i.e. true conservative] had no problem vetoing 12 spending bills his first couple years to compel an overwhelmingly Democrat Congress to cut pork.....
33 posted on 08/01/2003 6:49:49 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
Is the chart meant to compare Reagan/GWB budget submissions, or actual Reagan year congressional spending/GWB budget submissions, or some hybrid? That wasn't clear from the labelling.

I didn't say that I didn't "like" the chart, just that I think a %-change between Carter/Reagan and Clinton/GWB would yield meaningless statistics, at this level.
34 posted on 08/01/2003 6:52:45 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: AntiGuv
I know, Reagan was able to handle terrorist attacks on America, a war against terrorism on the otherside of the world, a hostile UN, a Republican Congress with the backbone of a jellyfish and determined Democrats far better then this. Just want is President Bush thinking about?
35 posted on 08/01/2003 6:53:33 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
It's self-evidently meant to portray the expansion of welfare and pork spending under Bush, versus the contraction of welfare and pork spending under Reagan.

Yes, of course. But is this congressional (as in controlling the purse strings) or administrative?

36 posted on 08/01/2003 6:55:26 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: Mudbug
It's clear in the accompanying article:

On Spending, Bush Is No Reagan

37 posted on 08/01/2003 6:56:10 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Harlequin
CATO can moan all they like, but it seems popular with the electorate.Nothing is EVER good enough for the smartypants at CATO, who also have to pump up the rhetoric to keep their doors open...

Gosh, I can still recall ALL that superb advice they gave out to Newt back in 1995.From Crane, Niskanen, Boaz, Richman and Moore, they are political idiots and glass half empty cybabies.
38 posted on 08/01/2003 6:56:53 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: AntiGuv
That sounds like a plan, now, get yourself elected and figure out how to get all those people to do what you want them to do.
39 posted on 08/01/2003 6:57:26 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: CWOJackson
Reagan was perfectly able to handle the Evil Empire, win the Cold War around the globe, with a hostile UN, and an implacably hostile Democrat Congress. Just what was he thinking?!
40 posted on 08/01/2003 6:57:47 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: paulk
We're a year and a half away from election night, can you put up a candidate that will win?
41 posted on 08/01/2003 6:58:22 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: NutCrackerBoy
deep down his economics are from Milton Friedman school;

I don't think Milton Friedman would appreciate you putting his ecconomic school in bed with government expansion(what I call Socialism).

Dem policies are awful; keep them out of power!

The Dems ARE out of power! Yet it is Dem policies that are getting implemented - tax refunds to non tax payers, expansion of medicare - mark my word

Bushes next term will feature socialized medicine! Won't be public until after the election.

42 posted on 08/01/2003 6:58:25 PM PDT by paulk
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To: Mudbug
But is this congressional (as in controlling the purse strings) or administrative?

I'm not sure what you're asking here.

43 posted on 08/01/2003 6:58:37 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: AntiGuv
How is it clear in the accompanying article? The article just says that "discretionary spending increased." It doesn't say what was being compared.
44 posted on 08/01/2003 6:59:03 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: CWOJackson
Nope.
45 posted on 08/01/2003 6:59:22 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Ah, Luis...you've stumbled on one of the advantages of third parties. They can have all the answers because they know they will never have to try and impliment them. It makes planning and execution so much easier when there is no execution.
46 posted on 08/01/2003 6:59:47 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Mudbug
Reagan's budgets were being compared versus Bush's budgets. I don't understand what you're failing to understand about that....
47 posted on 08/01/2003 7:00:05 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: NutCrackerBoy
Don't take this personally. I understand what you are saying, but...

"Never do today what you can do tomorrow, since they have no choice but to vote for you anyway."

I am so sick of this political game plan I could scream.
48 posted on 08/01/2003 7:01:22 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: CWOJackson; Do Be
Adults make decisions based upon how things are.

Children make decisions based upon how they would like things to be.

Children pretend the world is going to adapt to their desires.

Adults realize they must adapt to the world, to best get what they want.

Children think the world should be perfect, and if it's not, they quit or try to obstruct what's going on.

Adults make the best of what is, knowing it could be much better, acknowledging how wonderful it already is.

Maybe someday there will be a better person than Bush to vote for. I hope so. I personally would like to see a perfect man get elected.

But right now the adults will be voting for Bush.

121 posted on 08/01/2003 6:14 PM EDT by Do Be

49 posted on 08/01/2003 7:01:26 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: CWOJackson; Luis Gonzalez
It makes planning and execution so much easier when there is no execution.

It makes planning and execution so much easier when there is a plan to be executed. If you see any signs of a plan to decrease spending and restrain the expansion of governmnet rivalled only by LBJ's Great Society and FDR's New Deal, by all means feel free to let us know...

50 posted on 08/01/2003 7:01:49 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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