As if the Republican party (thanks largely to the current administration) had not long ago lost any credibility to apply the “tax and spend” label to the Democrats, the American Enterprise Institute has now published a report on just how fat our favorite Elephant is. (hat tip Cato @ Liberty)
Allowing for our military expenditures, making the Bush tax cuts permanent, adding prescription drug coverage to Medicare, removing the alternative minimum tax, and this years stimulus package we would still be spending hundreds of billions less this year than we are and we would have a balanced budget through 2017 if Bush had otherwise maintained the discretionary spending levels that Bill Clinton left to him.
Before the Democrats and our current Clinton get too puffed up over this fact we should all be reminded that the budgets left by President Clinton were the result of 6 years of struggle between a Republican Congress and a Democratic President. The excesses of President Bush are the result of 6 years of cooperation between a Congress and a President from the same party. One year of a Democratic Congress and our spendthrift Republican administration does not seem to have brought us noticeably toward the relative fiscal restraint we had achieved by the end of the Clinton presidency.
That struggle between the different ideals of the two parties looks like a good thing in practice, not just in campaigning. It almost makes me hope that we never again have a President and a Congress who essentially agree on most issues.