Feeling Bloated

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.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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8 Responses to Feeling Bloated

  1. Reach Upward says:

    It’s hardly any secret that the GOP’s scrapping of its small government and fiscal restraint principles cost them the 2006 mid-term elections. As I have said before, if your choices are between liberal and liberal-lite, why vote for the immitation when you could get the real thing? At least liberals are pretty straightforward about their real tax and spend agenda.

  2. David says:

    True, there’s no secret about that. I had just never seen numbers to cast such a stark contrast on the issue before.

  3. Jesse Harris says:

    The open rejection of small government principles is what’s going to keep me away from the Republican Party for good. That and the “eat your own young” mentality of party insiders.

  4. David says:

    I would agree with you except for the “for good” part. What if the Republican party were to again actively embrace the principles of small government. (By “actively” I mean they start pushing through legislation that consists not only of smaller budgets, but of smaller mandates for government agencies.)

    Of course the “eat your own young” mentality would also have to go.

  5. Jesse Harris says:

    Culture change takes decades in any large organization unless there’s some kind of massive upheaval. I won’t hold my breath.

  6. David says:

    That’s true. Holding your breath would guarantee that you would not live to see that change take place 😉

  7. Reach Upward says:

    I don’t know. The GOP of the 50s through the 70s was very moderate. The moderates were in control. The entire culture changed in a very short period of time after Reagan fought the party structure and brought in a new paradigm. That was possible due to Nixon’s demise, which weakened the moderate wing of the party. Change can happen rapidly when conditions are right.

  8. David says:

    Do you think the conditions are ripe yet for that kind of change to take place again in the GOP?

    I wish the party were simply moderate now. Sadly it reminds me of the story about the blind men feeling the elephant – they may all be identifying the same elephant, but they are all talking about different things and in many cases what they are talking about seem to be the non-essentials of the elephant.

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