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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: RJCogburn
But what's the point, so you can feel better about bitching?

Yaknow, seeing those Twin Towers come down sorta put politics into perspective, and well, I DON'T CARE about anything else he is doing than what he is focusing on right now.I trust his instincts, his wisdom and believe he has good sense, and superb leadership and political skills, so why should I nitpick when the things that matter to me, and I think are germaine to these times, are NOT about daily political battles or the items that radio talk show hosts grew used to during Clinton's term.9/11 changed it all.

I am prioritizing how I view Bush and have changed my expectations with the times.He hasn't let me down, and in his most important functions are CIC, he is a titan.For that, I am proudly a Bushbot.He is a REAL President.
121 posted on 08/01/2003 7:45:55 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: zchip
I think that this will ultimately result in a "one-term" GWB presidency.

Not to worry. The Libertarians only got 380,000 votes in '00.

122 posted on 08/01/2003 7:46:13 PM PDT by cinFLA
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To: cinFLA
That many? So is that a net gain or loss from the previous election?
123 posted on 08/01/2003 7:47:53 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Reagan lived in a much cleare world, with a clearly defined enemy. That was then, this is now.

Sounds like a parrot of the mainstream press.

I was awake and paying attention during the reagan years - he had a big mess on his hands and showed what leadership can do. He won the cold war! What everyone said could not be done, what everyone said he couldn't do with military strength. He defied the conventional wisdom again and again. The Dems didn't like him - but they also followed him - they feared him. He didn't follow poll data out of fear - he led. He was a man - not someone's BOY like GWB.

124 posted on 08/01/2003 7:48:39 PM PDT by paulk
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To: paulk
Sure...dream on.

The Dream Never Dies, or so says....Teddy Kennedy too?
125 posted on 08/01/2003 7:48:47 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: cinFLA
Pat Buchanan & the Libertarians combined got 833,560 votes in 2000, and it's a well-known political tenet that incumbent parties tend to lose a greater "protest" vote than do challenger parties...
126 posted on 08/01/2003 7:51:23 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: habs4ever
I share your admiration for Bush the man. I agree his most important job is the security of the nation.

So, when you ask But what's the point, so you can feel better about bitching?

The answer is not, I don't feel a bit better. It is, as I said

say those are bad ideas. Otherwise we can anticipate more of the same

127 posted on 08/01/2003 7:52:17 PM PDT by RJCogburn ("You have my thanks and, with certain reservations, my respect."......Lawyer J. Noble Daggett)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
To: DoughtyOne

Translation: I'll whine and complain and hold my breath until someone else brings me a solution in a silver platter.

Translation: This is supposed to be a conservative forum.  Big government is not conservative.  Just because you're fool enough to settle for trillion dollar Medicare suppliment enhancements, and 70% Education Department increases in 2.5 years, and borders so out of control we have no idea how many or what level of terrorists are entering, it doesn't mean everyone is.  Your silver platter is tarnished bud.  Wake up.

By the way, if that type of a conservative reaches the level of national recognition that a political candidate needs to have in order to stand a chance at winning, who do you think will get him there? You won't, you just said that you will do nothing until he shows up.

I didn't say I wouldn't help get him lofted, I just said I wouldn't until one was lofted.  I can work for a guy, but if he isn't the nominee that doesn't mean I'm going to vote for the DimPublican anyway.

We will.

I'm so impressed.

Funny thing is, at that point you'll jump up put of the sofa and claim title to that victory.

Luis, you don't know what I do or don't do.  Your comments are off base, which isn't unusual for your ilk.

87 posted on 08/01/2003 7:22 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)

128 posted on 08/01/2003 7:52:21 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
If you had some proof, like a Novemeber 2002 blowout loss, or massive tanking in the polls that showed Bush wildly unpopular, then I maybe think you know what you are talking about.You've confused what animates you with what everyone else OUGHT to be focusing on, whence your anger and outrage.

Would you say you're an ideologue?
129 posted on 08/01/2003 7:52:26 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: AntiGuv
Thank God for buchanan or it could have been worse. Fortunately he was able to use $12.5 million to parley his 17% in the polls down to next to nothing. If he hadn't alienated his base so quickly selling out to Fulani we might have been looking at President Gore.

But you guys can give it your best shot next time around...I'm sure you will.

130 posted on 08/01/2003 7:54:17 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: RJCogburn
The devil is in the details, mostly in Medicare reform.It depends HOW, doesn't it? That's where Tom Delay comes into things.
131 posted on 08/01/2003 7:54:17 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: paulk
"He won the cold war!

I love Reagan, he's by far the best president that I believe I will ever see in my lifetime, but Reagan did not win the cold war by himself, he pushed it over the edge, but you can no more say that he WON it, than you can give sole credit for the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, to the people who landed in Normandy.

It was a war, many fought, all helped.

132 posted on 08/01/2003 7:54:31 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: cinFLA
The difference between Bush & Gore was 543,614 - with the Democrats losing 2,882,985 "protest" votes to the Greens. (Though to be accurate, only about 1/2 to 2/3 of that would've gone D without Nader on the ballot.)
133 posted on 08/01/2003 7:55:14 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Recovering_Democrat
So a 70% increase in the budget for the Education Dept. (*cough*) is helping the war on terra? Buy a clue, bozo.
134 posted on 08/01/2003 7:56:36 PM PDT by Harlequin (the difference between theory and practice is bigger in practice than in theory)
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To: Luis Gonzalez
The issue at hand, however, was rationalizing the disparity between Reagan and GWB's spending on the basis of military expenditures (which weren't even included in that original graph). Clearly, that rationalization doesn't hold water when Reagan had to contend with similarly compelling military requirements.
135 posted on 08/01/2003 7:58:12 PM PDT by AntiGuv ()
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To: Luis Gonzalez
Take care Luis. Now that I'm an honorary Constipated And Ticked Off the wife and I are going to go out and celebrate.

Be seeing you around.

136 posted on 08/01/2003 7:59:00 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)
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To: paulk
" and Reagan GOT 75-80%! GWB is giving up 90%"

No kidding.

It's truly pathetic how these party hacks actually think that advice is applicable to Bush.

Makes you wonder if any of them are even old enough to remember Reagan.
137 posted on 08/01/2003 7:59:14 PM PDT by Tauzero (This was not the sand-people, this was the work of Imperial Storm Troopers: only they are so precise)
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To: CWOJackson
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 PM PDT by CWOJackson (go pat go,,,going, going....gone)

This is the second reference to Pat.  Your tag line has mentioned him both times.

I seldom talk about other forum participants intelligence, but you and Luis try to take leadership roles through badgering of other forum participants, so the gloves are off.  In 1992, 1996 and 2000, Pat Buchanan tried to get the border and immigration issues resolved.  I didn't support him in 1992, but by 1996 I recognized that he was right.  Our borders were out of control.

It wasn't just the illegal immigration that was out of control.  There were troubling signs of other problems.  Some of the people immigrating to our nation were from terrorist states in the middle-east.

After 2001, I would think that someone who professes to be as intelligent and all knowing as you do, would know better than to avoid damning Pat Buchanan.  If we would have tightened up our borders, and screened immigrants as Buchanan demanded starting around 1990, we could have avoided 09/11/01, a war on terrorism and a multitude of other problems.

I know you won't admit this, but then again that is but a very firm confirmation of my opinion of your abilities.

138 posted on 08/01/2003 7:59:34 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: DoughtyOne
You said this:

"I'll be more than happy to support a conservative when one is eventually lofted for us to support again."

Then you said this:

"I didn't say I wouldn't help get him lofted."

What then did you mean by "WHEN ONE IS LOFTED FOR US"?

"Luis, you don't know what I do or don't do."

Hell Ron, YOU don't know what YOU are saying, or NOT saying anymore, let alone what you're doing.

139 posted on 08/01/2003 8:00:07 PM PDT by Luis Gonzalez (Yo soy la Cuba libre.)
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To: CWOJackson
That many? So is that a net gain or loss from the previous election?

Down 20 percent from 96.

140 posted on 08/01/2003 8:00:17 PM PDT by cinFLA
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