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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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