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A government limited to what?
The Union Leader ^ | 9/04/04 | Jack Kenny

Posted on 09/04/2002 11:06:40 AM PDT by RJCogburn

“LIMITED GOVERNMENT.” We hear that conservative mantra a lot, especially at election time. Shake a tree in southern New Hampshire this campaign season and chances are at least one Republican candidate for Congress will fall out, proclaiming “limited government” three times before touching the ground.

Its counterpart is never heard. No one campaigns, at least not openly, for unlimited, or absolutist, government. No, it’s always “limited government.” Limited government today, limited government tomorrow, limited government forever!

Somehow we never seem to wonder why, after years of electing candidates sworn to “limited government,” the government keeps growing in size and cost. The federal government is bigger and, at $2 trillion-plus and rising, a good deal costlier now than it was just seven years ago, when Republicans took control of Congress in the “Republican Revolution.” It’s bigger and costlier than it was six years ago when that poster child for decadent liberalism, William J. Clinton, announced to the nation: “The era of big government is over.” Big government must have missed the news.

No one seems to notice that this “limited government” gag is as transparent as the emperor’s new clothes. We prefer not to notice, really. It’s a lot easier to just go on believing in “limited government” and voting for those who say they do, too. The amazing thing is, we never even ask what ought to be the most obvious question: Limited to what?

Perhaps there was a time when Americans could assume, if they thought about it at all, that “limited government” meant a federal government that would do only those things it is authorized to do by powers granted in our federal Constitution. But “limited government” has been taken off the Constitution standard, just as the dollar was long ago taken off the gold standard. Limits on federal power have, like the value of the currency, been allowed to “float.” And they’re still floating.

Consider, for example, the two members of Congress now competing in New Hampshire for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, Sen. Bob Smith and Rep. John Sununu. Each comes to the voters with impressive conservative credentials. Both get high ratings from all the right organizations. They get Friend of the Taxpayer Awards and ratings above 90 percent from organizations like the American Conservative Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. They’re both “A” students, which suggests the currency isn’t the only thing that’s been inflated.

In their televised debate last week, Smith and Sununu sparred over a “prescription drug benefit” as an expansion of Medicare. Neither spoke of the need to rein in the bureaucracy and streamline the approval process at the Food and Drug Administration, so the drugs might be less costly to produce. (Time is money, after all.) Each defended his vote in favor of the Bush-Kennedy-Gregg “education reform,” the No Child Left Behind Act, that allegedly increases local control in 1,184 pages of federal legislation. The scary part is that people who live and work in Washington can actually believe such nonsense.

In our Constitution of delegated powers, there is not one that remotely gives Congress any authority at all over the education of schoolchildren. So the only “education reform” conservatives should be championing, and the one way to truly increase local control, is the abolition of all federal education programs. But why do that when you can pass nearly 1,200 pages of federal rules and regulations to make local schools “more accountable”?

Smith charged that Sununu, having once pledged to support the abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts, “voted with the Democrats” to fund the agency. There are, alas, more than a few Republicans who have voted for that funding, as Smith well knows. And Smith lists among his accomplishments the securing of $500,000 of federal money for the renovation of the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Whether that money came from the NEA or some other agency, the principle is the same. Between them, these two men apparently see the subsidizing of artistic productions and the renovation of a local theater as federal concerns. And these are two of the most conservative members of the U.S. Congress.

Today, with a $2 trillion budget (in deficit by a $165 billion or so), being “conservative” means you never have to say, “We’re out of money.” A representative or senator could say, if so inclined, that there is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes Congress to spend money on artistic productions or theater renovations. But even the most conservative members of Congress are more likely to be struck by lightning than by a thought of the Constitution. Perhaps it’s just as well.

The lightning might do some good.


TOPICS: Government
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1 posted on 09/04/2002 11:06:41 AM PDT by RJCogburn
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To: RJCogburn
I always vote for the liar: he promises more! ;^)
2 posted on 09/04/2002 11:19:57 AM PDT by Abcdefg
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To: RJCogburn
"If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way in which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for through this, in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. " Washington's Farewell Address 9-19-1796

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster

Good thing they don't teach history anymore
3 posted on 09/04/2002 11:37:46 AM PDT by steve50
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To: RJCogburn
Exceptionally good editorial.

4 posted on 09/04/2002 11:39:57 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: RJCogburn
The scary part is that people who live and work in Washington can actually believe such nonsense.
      No, the scary part is that the electorate seems to actually believe such nonsense.
5 posted on 09/05/2002 12:28:54 AM PDT by Celtman
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To: Askel5; RLK; nunya bidness; Donald Stone; OKCSubmariner
Who stated the following:

"Government ought to have a policy that helps people with a downpayment."

A. - OR - B.

Answer

You are not hallucinating, he really wants to have the government provide downpayments.


What Has Bush Done For Conservatives Lately?

How Conservative Is President Bush?

Regulatory Spending Escalation

Darkness By Design


Bush has been increasing real federal domestic expenditures by 8.7 percent per year, a faster rate of growth than under any previous president since John F. Kennedy.(2) Since 1989 Bush has also run up bigger deficits, both in dollars and as a percentage of GDP, than any other post-World War II president. If massive growth of government and multi-billion-dollar deficits were the solution to America's eco-nomic problems, the nation would be basking in unprecedented prosperity, and Bush would be widely acclaimed as an economic miracle worker.

Despite the fact that the Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, and 30 governorships, the nation is now in the midst of the biggest government spending spree since LBJ. Incredibly, the domestic social welfare budget has expanded more in just two years ($96 billion) under George W. Bush than in Bill Clinton's first six years in office ($51 billion).


What is Free Republic's Mission?


The Humor Section:

The War On Pork - "Who will join President Bush in his fight for fiscal sanity?

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

The election is coming


There's No Place Like Home,

There's No Place Like Home
There's No Place Like Home

6 posted on 09/05/2002 2:02:25 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5
House Opens the Way for Fourth Straight Raise in Pay
"The only lawmaker to speak against the raise was Rep. James Matheson, D-Utah. "We can't afford it, last year's government surpluses are long gone, we are swimming in red ink, we are fighting a war. We shouldn't be asking the taxpayers to pay us more,"
7 posted on 09/05/2002 3:01:07 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5
180 Degrees of Separation
8 posted on 09/05/2002 3:09:23 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: RJCogburn
This is exactly why I think the tax cut "issue" is so stupid.

If the sheeple demand spending increases of 8%/year (and if Congress is stupid enough to do an Rx benefit, it'll be a lot more than 8%), then taxes have to go up-fast.

Anyone who campaigns for "tax cuts" because you "deserve it", while also campaigning for more and bigger government programs is both a fool and a liar.

In other words, the main unifying and vote-getting issue of the GOP, which brought it out of the wilderness, elected Ronald Reagan, captured the Congress in 1994-is over.

9 posted on 09/05/2002 3:23:20 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: RJCogburn
Excellent article, Thanks for the post.
10 posted on 09/05/2002 3:39:03 AM PDT by WhiteGuy
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To: Jim Noble
Jim, my friend, I do hope you have donned your flame-proof jammies. You doth speaketh blasphemy, and will probably be smitten by the wrath of the vengeful 'Bots for your sins...
11 posted on 09/05/2002 3:42:47 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: Lord_Baltar
Yes, I've heard from them before on this matter...

But seriously, if the GOP is going to grow the Federal government faster than Clinton, why should we care who wins the majority? Here in NH, all the candidates for governor run ads which have 2 halves-first, how much they will cut taxes, second, how many new programs they will "give".

I mean, c'mon, there must be some limit to mass stupidity, mustn't there?

12 posted on 09/05/2002 3:50:03 AM PDT by Jim Noble
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To: Jim Noble
>>>I mean, c'mon, there must be some limit to mass stupidity, mustn't there? <<<

No.

13 posted on 09/05/2002 3:54:55 AM PDT by OwenKellogg
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To: Lord_Baltar; Jim Noble
LIMITED GOVERNMENT


President George W. Bush - Biography

SOURCE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html

"George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. Formerly the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, President Bush has earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shapes policy based on the principles of limited government,..."


DON'T BE FOOLED AGAIN

14 posted on 09/05/2002 3:59:28 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
After 4 years of X41, I wasn't fooled to begin with...
15 posted on 09/05/2002 4:01:05 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: Lord_Baltar
Thank goodness. You must read lips. 8-)

"Not over my dead body will they raise your taxes,"
George W. Bush - SOURCE.

16 posted on 09/05/2002 4:05:37 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
Well Uncle Bill, it wouldn't be prudent for me to comment on that. As you know, I was, and have been out of the loop on such things.

But let me assure you, that will not stand....


BTW, just as an asside, did you see they are bringing back Family Affair, with Tim Curry playing Mr. French.
17 posted on 09/05/2002 4:10:32 AM PDT by Lord_Baltar
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To: OwenKellogg
More Limited Government

18 posted on 09/05/2002 4:16:15 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; RLK
Bush asks for new aid for Israel, Palestinians - $250 Million - "These amendments continue my commitment to provide necessary resources to enhance...the people of the West Bank and Gaza, and to fight the growing pandemic of HIV/AIDS among developing countries..."

More "Limited Government" by Bush.

19 posted on 09/05/2002 11:57:02 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; RLK
BUSH - License To Spend - The Washington Times

George W. Bush - "The tax-and-spend candidate,"

Bush Wants 11.5% Increase in Education Spending

Now, Look Americans, I Told You I Was A Socialist "Before" I Was President, Don't Look So Shocked

Bush Says Gore Spending Would Cost Families $20,000 and well Bush's Spending Spree Costs Americans $20,000 Per Household

Bush's budget said increases would be made to boost spending on stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS globally and improving primary education in Africa

Yes, He Really Said This - "The problem is, some of the folks in Washington are used to spending orgies,'' Bush told a crowd packed shoulder to shoulder in steamy aircraft hanger. ``Those days are over. We're going to bring some fiscal sanity to the budget."

President Bush will veto any annual spending bill that costs more than he wants, Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday


Slouching Toward Servitude - by Robert L. Kocher

20 posted on 09/05/2002 1:00:17 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; OKCSubmariner
"This farm bill will cost the average American taxpaying family $4,300 in higher taxes." - Thanks George
21 posted on 09/05/2002 1:40:23 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5
BUSH'S COURT JESTER - "The man charged by President Bush with screening potential U.S. Supreme Court justice nominees believes the Constitution is a living document"

More Limited Government

22 posted on 09/05/2002 1:52:02 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; OKCSubmariner; Donald Stone
Recycling Bad Government
"Many of Bush's Cabinet members, for example, used to criticize the size and scope of Washington's power. But now they preside over many of those same agencies. And now, each of those agencies have grown larger and more powerful in the few years these careerists have been back in town.

Now do you know why, despite our system of "checks and balances," few in positions of power are ever held accountable for misbehavior, misdeeds, high crimes and misdemeanors?

Perhaps now GOP conservatives understand why they are increasingly frustrated, disappointed and disenfranchised with the "Grand Ol' Party?" In reality, there isn't much difference between them and liberal Democrats – each spend freely, limit personal freedom and derail liberty.

Is it any wonder why lawmakers refuse to hold agency heads responsible for their failures – even failures as deadly and serious as Waco, Oklahoma City and 9-11? Who can prosecute a member of "the club?"

The fact is, regardless of the stated "political philosophy" of any given administration, nothing really ever changes in Washington, D.C. And it's because many of the most powerful people in our government are nothing more than recycled public servants.


It's The Elite Who Are Corrupt
"So the individuals who occupy these 7,000 positions of power are the elite who run the country. Therefore, it is the character of these members of the elite that will determine the character of the country. What you see in government policies, in cultural products and in education policies are the direct result of the decisions made by this relatively small elite.

History affirms this. The reason America did not follow the usual path of revolution to dictatorship was solely the result of the character of one man, George Washington. Washington could have easily made himself dictator, and many of the officers in his army wanted him to do just that. But Washington's character would not allow it.

When the elite who run a country have good morals and high standards, then you have a good country. If the elite become corrupt, you have a corrupt country. The vulgarity, profanity and violence you see in entertainment are there only because those individuals occupying the positions of power in the entertainment industry said "Yes." If they said "No," those things would disappear from the screens and the magazine racks.

Our problem is that most of our elite have become corrupted. Many are nihilistic and hedonistic. The leadership of a country always leads the masses, and they can lead them to high ground or into the swamps. And there's not much I can see that ordinary people can do about it."


"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Will Rogers

23 posted on 09/06/2002 1:35:45 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; Twodees
Bush Out Of Control, Can't Help Self - Requests $1 billion in added spending (AIDS, humanitarian assistance to Palestinians,etc.) - September 5, 2002

New Study on Antiterror Spending Is Fodder for Rival Camps - September 6, 2002
"Brian M. Riedl, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative research group, said the four fiscal years through 2003 were on track to be one of the periods of the highest spending in American history and that there was so far little political pressure to curb spending on either national security or social programs.

"Republicans and Democrats basically make a deal with each other — `I'll vote for your increase if you'll vote for my increase,"' Mr. Riedl said. "As long as voters don't seem intent on punishing politicians for budget deficits, both parties feel they are in the clear."

"If the Congress won't show spending restraint, I intend to enforce spending restraint," - George W. Bush - September 3, 2002

Bush makes government more limited, Americans love socialism. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum keeps their hearts thumping for more

24 posted on 09/06/2002 2:54:29 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Askel5; Twodees
Bush Loves Clinton Plan - "Bush did not dismantle his predecessor's national service initiative, AmeriCorps, but has called for its expansion from 50,000 to 75,000 full-time paid volunteers."

Limiting government with "paid" volunteers. Huh?

25 posted on 09/06/2002 3:01:40 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
From the thread two years ago:

To: Kobyashi1942 Kobayashi wrote: "When all my Republican friends are crying in their milk on the day after the election I will remind them that there wasn't a dimes worth of difference between the winner, Gore and the neo-socialist G.W. Bush. " And when Gore appoints three Supreme Court Justices who will continue to devalue life and federalize more and more government, I will remind you that there WAS a difference between Bush and Gore. 6 Posted on 09/06/2000 08:17:29 PDT by sinkspur [ Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | Top | Last ]

Now that Bush has shown he would do the same even before he gets a chance to appoint anyone to the Supreme Court, this will be forgotten, I suppose.

26 posted on 09/06/2002 3:16:47 AM PDT by Twodees
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To: Twodees
Yep, I suppose. I read that earlier. That's why I posted #22.

On another issue, did you see this?

POLL - (3,657) - Should the IRS arrest people who don't file income-tax returns? - No, income tax is a fraud on the American people - 54.31% (1986)

THE INJUSTICE OF INCOME TAX - By Alan Keyes

27 posted on 09/06/2002 3:38:44 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: RJCogburn
Somehow we never seem to wonder why, after years of electing candidates sworn to “limited government,” the government keeps growing in size and cost.

I wondered for many years and then the answer came to me about ten years ago. Republicans "buy" votes too.

28 posted on 09/06/2002 3:53:43 AM PDT by Dawgsquat
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To: Uncle Bill
Nice work as always Bill.
29 posted on 09/06/2002 3:58:24 AM PDT by WhiteGuy
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To: Uncle Bill; Joe Montana; mssnoop
BUMP !!!!!

30 posted on 09/06/2002 7:08:25 AM PDT by Donald Stone
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To: Uncle Bill
Thanks. I'm bookmarking some of this for later perusal. Not enough hours in the day to do all the reading I want to do. ;-)
31 posted on 09/06/2002 6:27:31 PM PDT by Twodees
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To: Uncle Bill; Askel5; Inspector Harry Callahan
Uncle Bill bump!
32 posted on 09/06/2002 6:36:40 PM PDT by nunya bidness
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To: RJCogburn
bttt
33 posted on 09/06/2002 6:55:24 PM PDT by Inspector Harry Callahan
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.
34 posted on 09/07/2002 3:59:08 AM PDT by Inspector Harry Callahan
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To: Inspector Harry Callahan
Hi Harry.

Professional firearms trainers Dr. Ignatius Piazza Offers To Train Airline Pilots For Free - Bush Administration Wants To Spend Another Billion Dollars To Facilitate "Limited Government"

Iraq war to carry a high tab: 100 billion dollars

Real Budget Deficit $400 Billion, not $165 Billion

Egypt Promised $10.3 Billion in Aid

That'll Be $43 Billion For the Next Three Minutes

$26 Billion More For Failing Schools

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? A New York Janitor - Salary $126,887

Hill GOP now wants $40 billion for schools

Have You Ever Received Anything At All From The Government? No? Well, The Illegal Aliens Are Raking In 24 Billion A Year

George W. Bush and the GOP, working towards limited government

35 posted on 09/07/2002 1:59:40 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill; NMC EXP
"The surest way to bust this economy is to increase the role and the size of the federal government." - George W. Bush

Bush Spending Bill Largest Ever

Bush Signs Largest Family Planning Bill In U.S. History

The Bush M.O.

Meanwhile, Back On The Farm

36 posted on 09/07/2002 5:19:39 PM PDT by Inspector Harry Callahan
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To: Uncle Bill
You know Unc, the elite really have the sheep figured out. They can't lose with Bush in there. Very few folks around my neck of the woods are aware of this huge pork spending. I think I'll print some of these articles off and show them to some of the people I run into throughout the day.

I mean, come on... Were giving Egypt ten point three BILLION dollars? Sheesh! A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you start talking about some real money.

37 posted on 09/07/2002 5:34:51 PM PDT by Inspector Harry Callahan
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To: steve50
Good thing they don't teach history anymore

I got kids in them there G-schools and you would be surprised what passes for history these days.

More is taught about America's place in the World Commune(ity) than our own history. When our own history is taught it is about slavery and the stealing of Texas, etc.

Such tripe as this exercise is taught, "Imagine your a girl in India. Describe what you would wear and what you would eat. Extra points will be given to all children who bring food that is eaten in India."

How sweet,
CATO

38 posted on 09/07/2002 5:35:37 PM PDT by Cato
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To: RJCogburn; Uncle Bill
Thanks for the post, links. The business at hand is to get the Democratic Crime Syndicate out of all offices. Next is to hold conservative/constitutional/Republicans feet to the fire by propelling Freepers to run for government office if necessary. President Bush and the current administration have gone after more enemies...foreign and domestic than any in my lifetime...and because these are the biggest threats to freedom, I have to give them the highest marks for their efforts. Having said that I thank you for your links Uncle Bill. They are very powerful.
39 posted on 09/07/2002 6:44:42 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: Inspector Harry Callahan; Uncle Bill
But Harry, he must convince the "base" that the urine dripping from it's back is actually rain in order to:

- appoint republican judges.

- insure election of a republican majority in the house.

- insure election of a veto proof filibuster proof republican majority in the senate.

Once republicans are in control of every elective and appointed office nation wide right down to dog catcher, things will get better. Just wait...you'll see.

Until then you gotta understand that you just don't understand the finer points of politics....compromise and sucking up to those democrats and all. It takes a real man to ignore his principles and wallow around in the dung heap of public service. Us mere mortals are not up to the task of comprehending it, much less doing it, don't ya know.

Regards

J.R.
40 posted on 09/07/2002 7:45:55 PM PDT by NMC EXP
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To: Inspector Harry Callahan; NMC EXP; Askel5
Report: Federal Agencies Wasted $19 Billion Last Year
"Improper Medicare payments accounted for more than half the money...The mistakes occurred when government officials paid people twice, miscalculated the amount individuals should receive or sent checks to people who weren't eligible.."

Bush Urges Congress to Deliver on Prescription Drugs for Medicare - $500 Billion - 1 Trillion

41 posted on 09/08/2002 9:00:26 PM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: RJCogburn
We are off budget kind of due to a slight attack and war I think, right?
42 posted on 09/08/2002 9:04:23 PM PDT by A CA Guy
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To: Inspector Harry Callahan
I think I'll print some of these articles off and show them to some of the people I run into throughout the day.

Keep the truck off the sidewalk and it wouldn't happen.

43 posted on 09/08/2002 9:08:12 PM PDT by nunya bidness
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To: Inspector Harry Callahan; RLK
"We have had ignorant men occupy the presidency several times, but none, I think, as ignorant of the Constitution and as disinclined toward freedom as George Bush."
"He made a Freudian slip one day in an offhand remark to the press. He said, "I think Americans ought to be allowed to express their opinions." Ought to be allowed? Ought to be allowed? Hey, Mr. President, read the First Amendment. We have the God-given right to express our opinions, whether you and your government think we should be "allowed" to do so or not. Allowed my foot."

The government's War on Business - "Democrats are demanding something just short of summary executions, while Republicans and President George W. Bush are trying to outdo the Democrats in their anti-business rhetoric"

44 posted on 09/09/2002 4:32:58 AM PDT by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
Bush is brain dead.
45 posted on 09/09/2002 9:17:07 AM PDT by RLK
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To: RJCogburn
A ball when rolling forward can only be stopped with equal and opposite force. Voteing don't seem have the inertia required, sad to say. Let's see, when the Gov't(of all stripes) employees reach 51% of the population we'll have Big Gov't forever. Why!, because thats what WE want.

On the other hand if we have a shadow Gov't then the guys, behind the gals, behind the gays, behind the guys will continue giving us Doles, Bush's x 2, and (lol) Gore's to vote for.

I can hear them laughing as I write this. Maybe Ron Popille can invent a rebellion thats not so bloody and gory. That is if you can find someone willing to stop watching Opreh long enough to fight the good fight, whatever that is.

If there were a rebellion "we'd/They'd" propably kill the wrong people anyway and the whole thing would start all over again. Because one thing is for certain, to me. The movie "Matrix" was right on. Reality, maybe is not it's all up to be.

"The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense' -Tom Clancy

46 posted on 09/16/2002 10:30:41 PM PDT by hosepipe
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To: Uncle Bill
BTTT
47 posted on 11/06/2002 6:11:08 PM PST by Inspector Harry Callahan
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To: RJCogburn
Bttt
48 posted on 01/07/2003 2:58:19 PM PST by Uncle Bill
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To: TLBSHOW
Despite Campaign Rhetoric, Bush Is Promoting Big Government - January 19, 2003


The Return of Big Government

Federal spending is skyrocketing, but shockingly little of it is related to Sept. 11.

FORTUNE
Monday, September 2, 2002
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Source

In wartime, as everyone knows, federal spending must go up. The aftermath of Sept. 11 is no different. The U.S. needed to rout al Qaeda from Afghanistan, tighten airport and border security, and heighten its defenses against terrorism. That took gobs of money, so no one begrudges the recent surge in outlays. It's all for a good cause.

Except it isn't. Spending is skyrocketing, but shockingly little of it is related to the Sept. 11 attacks. Budget experts say that only about a third of the additional spending this year can be attributed to the war on terror. The rest is testament to a fact that predates Sept. 11: The era of big government has returned.

Of the programs that Congress and the President control directly, spending is up a whopping 13.9% this fiscal year. And that's not a new phenomenon. Soon after Bill Clinton declared, "The era of big government is over" in 1996, expenditures started to zoom. Such spending is rising so briskly that, for the first time since the late 1960s, annually appropriated programs have been growing faster than formula-driven entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Sept. 11 is merely a blip in that trajectory. Despite all the hoopla, only about $30 billion has been spent on homeland security and national defense programs directly related to the antiterror campaign. About $10 billion of that went to the fight in Afghanistan and $20 billion to rebuild New York City, prevent bioterrorism, improve transportation security, and the like. Overall, however, Uncle Sam has spewed out an extra $91 billion in appropriated funds this fiscal year for matters that range from highway construction to medical research.

In other words, the war on terror is being used as a ruse to justify all sorts of spending. President Bush lifted the veil on this deception by withholding $5.1 billion in extraneous expenditures that were buried in a homeland defense bill. But analysts worry that the pattern will become a fixture. Says Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a fiscal watchdog group: "Packaging all manner of spending under the banner of homeland security will become a permanent addition."

Then again, lawmakers don't need much prodding to spend more. Nondefense spending has been increasing so rapidly lately that 2000-03 would still represent the largest four-year spending spree in a generation even if military expenditures hadn't gone up a penny. During that period farm subsidies doubled; unemployment compensation and health programs (other than Medicare and Medicaid) jumped 50%; education outlays rose by a third.

A lot has changed since 1998, when economic boom times created the first federal annual budget surplus since 1969. For four fat years lawmakers got used to spending what they pleased. A mere year ago, in fact, Bush confidently predicted $5.6 trillion in budget surpluses over the next decade and settled for a $1.35 trillion tax cut. But the economic slowdown changed all that. Today Bush will struggle to keep the tax relief he won. Fiscal 2002 will probably post a deficit near $165 billion.

A few shekels of deficit spending isn't necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, the sagging GDP could use some Keynesian stimulation. But so much? In February, Bush asked Congress to hold non-homeland security, non-Pentagon spending to 2% growth next fiscal year. But by May he had signed the most expensive farm subsidy bill in history--$190 billion over ten years. And that after proposing a 4% reduction in agriculture subsidies last year!

Ever since Ronald Reagan's war against government in the 1980s, every President has talked big about making government small. Bush is no exception. In August he told reporters, "It is important for this country to be fiscally disciplined as our economy begins to recover." But federal spending has risen every year since 1965--including under Reagan--and no sane person is predicting that trend will end.

The new emphasis on homeland security will make sure of that. Bush contends that the Department of Homeland Security won't make government larger. But almost no one believes him. He will combine 22 agencies and 170,000 workers to create the most massive new bureaucracy since the Defense Department was created in 1947.

Corporations are rushing to cash in. Since the office of Homeland Security started fielding business propositions last October, more than 1,000 companies have pitched ideas, some of them very strange. One firm wanted to fit every commercial airline seat with metal straps that could ensnare potential hijackers. Another proposed to teach our enemies transcendental meditation in order to calm them down. They didn't make the cut.

But others will, and businesses are gearing up to sell into this multibillion-dollar market. Deloitte Consulting estimates that homeland security programs at the federal level could exceed $30 billion a year.

Will the President allow things to get that far out of hand? Bush has wielded his veto authority less than any President since Franklin Roosevelt; in fact, he hasn't used it at all. White House aides promise that he will--and soon--to force Congress to pare its profligacy. But few think he'll make a dent in the big-government boom.


Bush is a big part of the problem, not the solution

49 posted on 01/19/2003 5:07:41 AM PST by Uncle Bill
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To: Uncle Bill
I just came on line and this was at the top. Thanks I will read it. I pinged you to a few threads yesterday and wondered if you could reply on them? I can't believe Bush isn't a conservative, but that explains why he never goes to Cpac.
50 posted on 01/19/2003 5:11:48 AM PST by TLBSHOW
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