Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Bush the Fiscal Conservative

So says a McClatchy news report:

George W. Bush, despite all his recent bravado about being an apostle of small government and budget-slashing, is the biggest spending president since Lyndon B. Johnson. In fact, he’s arguably an even bigger spender than LBJ.

“He’s a big government guy,” said Stephen Slivinski, the director of budget studies at Cato Institute, a libertarian research group.

The numbers are clear, credible and conclusive, added David Keating, the executive director of the Club for Growth, a budget-watchdog group.

“He’s a big spender,” Keating said. “No question about it.”


And not just on war stuff:

Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, points to education spending. Adjusted for inflation, it’s up 18 percent annually since 2001, thanks largely to Bush’s No Child Left Behind act.

The 2002 farm bill, he said, caused agriculture spending to double its 1990s levels.

Then there was the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit — the biggest single expansion in the program’s history — whose 10-year costs are estimated at more than $700 billion.

And the 2005 highway bill, which included thousands of “earmarks,” or special local projects stuck into the legislation by individual lawmakers without review, cost $295 billion.

“He has presided over massive increases in almost every category … a dramatic change of pace from most previous presidents,” said Slivinski.

But here’s the funny part: now that the Democrats control congress, after tripling the nation’s debt, Bush is suddenly posing as a fiscal conservative and objecting to measly 2-3%% increases in discretionary spending:

Now, near the end of the seventh year of his presidency, Bush is positioning himself as a tough fiscal conservative.

He says Congress is proposing to spend $22 billion more in fiscal 2008 than the $933 billion he requested for discretionary programs — and that the $22 billion extra would swell over five years to $205 billion.

Eventually, Bush said, “they’re going to have to raise taxes to pay for it.”

Yes, he actually said that. After cutting taxes and raising spending faster than any post-WW2 president and driving up the debt by several trillion dollars, he’s now arguing that if we raise spending by 2%, it’s gonna require tax increases to pay for it. Why didn’t that $285 billion highway bill require an increase in taxes? Why didn’t that $700 billion Medicare bill require an increase in taxes? Oh, right – because the Republicans were in charge then.

I’m waiting for young people – and by that I mean pretty much anyone still of working age – to get pissed off about this. If you’re going to spend like a drunken sailor, you at least have to pay for it yourself and not pass it off to someone else. Bush took over a balanced budget and in the last 6 years, we have added nearly $3.5 trillion in debt. That debt is financed by selling bonds which we must then pay back, with interest, over the next 10-30 years.

In other words, Bush has handed us and our children a $3.5 trillion We Owe Them, which can only be paid for with tax increases in the future. There is one iron law of budgets, repeat it after me: If you are running deficits, there is no such thing as a tax cut; there is only a tax delay. To continue to increase spending without paying the taxes to cover it is the very height of irresponsibility. Oh, and that’s not to mention that issuing all that debt has given foreign governments, China in particular, a multi-trillion dollar leverage point over us. If you ran a corporation that way, you would be in prison. Our government does this year after year and we return 90% of them to their jobs every two years. Wake up, America. You’re being screwed and they aren’t using any lube.