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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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To: paulk
It's very fortunate that so few people in this nation, other then yellow-dog Democrats, think like you. I hear most of the same things from them.
101 posted on 08/01/2003 7:31:14 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
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

Remind me what he did in Lebanon and what federal departments he eliminated. And how would you characterize the Senate Bush has had to work with, more than half the time under the leadership of Daschle? Regardless of how much Bush is spending, it is far less than what the Dems have asked for. Sure, the House has had a Republican majority but of what good is that when bills go to conference.

What is the answer? Who to the right of Bush can even get elected. Meantime the Dems are out campaigning on rolling back the tax cuts, the extremist judicial appointments, the lack of funding on education and homeland security, the environment, etc.

102 posted on 08/01/2003 7:31:23 PM PDT by Dolphy
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To: AntiGuv
Ah, is this how the folks over at Constipated And Ticked Off respond to the real issues of the day...just try and ignore reality?

I'm fine with that...it helps to keep you folks off the charts.

103 posted on 08/01/2003 7:32:24 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
Sorry, I hit post too fast.

Are you saying that the CATO chart compares the 3-yr % changes in discretionary spending (Reagan/Carter) vs. (Clinton/GWB) submitted budgets? Why on earth would they spend their time and money on that sort of hypothetical analysis.

While I agree with CATO that spending hasn't been cut the way it should under GWB, particularly in this term with recontrol of the senate, I say the chart is bogus and meaningless.

104 posted on 08/01/2003 7:33:19 PM PDT by Mudbug
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To: Luis Gonzalez
"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.

and Reagan GOT 75-80%! GWB is giving up 90%

105 posted on 08/01/2003 7:33:20 PM PDT by paulk
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To: CWOJackson
Cool deal. Now, are you ready to answer the question of how crashing airliners induce prescription drug entitlements, bloated farm subsidies, massive federal education funding, and so on?
106 posted on 08/01/2003 7:34:05 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: RJCogburn
What is the problem with recognizing the things that have been done that are not good?

The blame for the unnecessary domestic spending goes to the Democrats beholdenness to special interests: teacher unions, labor unions. True, W failed to find some other way to neutralize them. As others keep saying, he's been somewhat busy. Do we have a right to expect opposition party not to push so hard? Maybe. But they are a party out of control.

107 posted on 08/01/2003 7:34:36 PM PDT by NutCrackerBoy
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To: AntiGuv
Ah, is this how the folks over at Constipated And Ticked Off respond to the real issues of the day...just try and ignore reality?

Hey, thanks for sharing the CATO secret...cut, paste and ignore reality. I like this...and it is easier then I thought.

108 posted on 08/01/2003 7:35:32 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: AntiGuv
Ah, is this how the folks over at Constipated And Ticked Off respond to the real issues of the day...just try and ignore reality?

Hey, thanks for sharing the CATO secret...cut, paste and ignore reality. I like this...and it is easier then I thought.

109 posted on 08/01/2003 7:36:21 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: habs4ever
he cut taxes and he is waging war

Yes. Good job.

I don't expect anymore than that

I agree. That would be about enough. That is why the huge expansion of government power, scope and cost in the areas such as the education bill, farm bill, Medicare bill are rightfully criticized.

Even the most fervent Bush person should be willing to say those are bad ideas. Otherwise we can anticipate more of the same.

110 posted on 08/01/2003 7:36:52 PM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: AntiGuv
Oops, I'm sorry. I forgot to wait for you. I'll tell you what, post yours twice and I'll wait for you to catch up.

(How long will it take CATO to catch up?)

111 posted on 08/01/2003 7:37:20 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Dolphy
Remind me what he did in Lebanon and what federal departments he eliminated.

Reagan reduced non-military discretionary spending by 14%; Bush has increased non-military discretionary spending by 18%. And, that 18% won't include the prescription drug entitlement because entitlements are non-discretionary.

And how would you characterize the Senate Bush has had to work with, more than half the time under the leadership of Daschle?

Much friendlier than the House Reagan had to work with under Tip O'Neill.

What is the answer?

For Bush to behave as a fiscal conservative would.

112 posted on 08/01/2003 7:38:08 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: CWOJackson
To: DoughtyOne

Of course not, and there isn't a conservative in the Presidency right now either. It's all a matter of perspective. Most people consider President Bush to be conservative,

Well most Democrat certainly do.  Are you a Democrat too?

Most people don't consider increasing a department (that should have been abolished within a week of Bush being elected) budget by 70% in 2.5 years to be conservative.  Let's look at what that department facilitates.

1. Producing homosexual sensitivity videos for first and second grade children
2. Holding round table discussions that refer to parents as bigoted, while school officials and peers tell children homosexuality isn't any more or less acceptable than heterosexuality
3. Trashing our founding fathers for being slave owners, yet refraining from explaining why the nation and documents they created were special
4. Replacing teachings of the founding fathers and our nation's inception with instruction regarding Martin Luther King, lending support to the idea that he was more important than they were
5. Failing to educate our children to read
6. Failing to educate our children to write
7. Failing to educate our children to execute simple math
8. Failing to emphasise why a constitutional republic is different and more superior than democratic rule
9. Openly supporting the democrat party through treachings
10. Failing to teach the difference between right and wrong (moral relativism rules)

That's enough for a start.

and well...they would consider you to be a nincompoop.

No problem there bud.  Democrats have always thought very little of me.

I'm fine with that.

Partner, with your lack of intelligence, I can live with your opinion too.

83 posted on 08/01/2003 7:21 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)

113 posted on 08/01/2003 7:38:53 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: habs4ever
Big Gov't is here to stay and will never go away, so why can't you try to face that fact and work to ameliorate its effects at the margins? That fight was lost decades ago.Lost, it's over.But cutting taxes goes on...

That fight was never lost and it isn't over.

BTW the tax cuts don't even make up for the unfunded fed mandates the states have to pay for and are taxing us for.

114 posted on 08/01/2003 7:39:28 PM PDT by paulk
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To: CWOJackson
My point has been made for anyone that matters. You will now discover just how effortless ignoring you can be...
115 posted on 08/01/2003 7:40:29 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: DoughtyOne
"Partner, with your lack of intelligence, I can live with your opinion too."

Of course you can, it reflects in your own political choices. I wouldn't expect less of you.

116 posted on 08/01/2003 7:41:10 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: NutCrackerBoy
The blame for the unnecessary domestic spending goes to the Democrats beholdenness to special interests: teacher unions, labor unions.

I agree in part, but some of that spending is the result of Bush's proposals. There is also the matter of the four letter word...VETO.

117 posted on 08/01/2003 7:42:00 PM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: AntiGuv
"will now discover just how effortless ignoring you can be..."

ALRIGHT...THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I AM NO A MEMBER OF CATO!

118 posted on 08/01/2003 7:42:11 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: habs4ever
To: DoughtyOne

Jesus, man, he's got bigger things to fry than YOUR pet issues, which resonate with a whole...1% of the electorate.

Since when are Conservative Republican issues that were considered rock solid for decades, my pet projects?

So, you want him to divert his energies to make you happy, when he's got a war on terror and a hostile Democratic Party to contend with?

Oh but the man sure has time to support a new trillion dollar medication suppliment to Medicare.  I guess you forgot.

Your expectations are ridiculous.He has to focus on the BIG things, not your things.

Once again, these have been rock solid conservative issues for at least the last twenty five years.

91 posted on 08/01/2003 7:26 PM PDT by habs4ever

119 posted on 08/01/2003 7:42:55 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: AntiGuv
Oops...make that NOW a member of Constipate And Ticked Off. I was simply underwhelmed with the priviledge and got sloppy with the keyboard.
120 posted on 08/01/2003 7:45:08 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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