Boy I wish I had come up with that title. But I didn’t. It comes from the Cato Institute’s report The Grand Old Spending Party. This report is absolutely devastating to the current Republican leadership of this county because it demonstrates one fact very clearly. The Republicans can no longer claim the mantel of fiscal conservatism; they spend in a manner far worse than those “tax and spend” Democrats.
Just to really illustrate the difference between these parties – and to really tick off Republicans – let’s compare Bush to Clinton.
Budget as a Percentage of GDP
At the beginning of Clinton’s term, the Federal Budget was almost 22.5% of GDP. By the time he left office, that percentage was a little under 18.5% — a net decrease of 4%.
At the beginning of Bush’s first term, the Federal Budget was a little under 18.5% of GDP. Currently, that percentage was a little under 20.3% — a net increase almost 2%.
Growth Rate of Government Outlays
Under Clinton, the real annual growth rate of total government outlays was 1.5%.
Under Bush, the rea
l annual growth rate of total government outlays is 5%.
Growth Rate of Non-Defense Spending
Under Clinton, the real annual growth rate of non-defense and non-homeland security spending was 2.1%.
Under Bush, the real annual growth rate of non-defense and non-homeland security spending was 4.8% — over twice Clinton’s increase.
The result of this Republican spending spree is a ballooning of the Federal Deficit. When Bush was elected, the total federal deficit was 5.8 trillion. Now it is nearly 8 trillion – an increase of 38%.
The Cato Institute is not the only Republican organization to begin chaffing at the bit over Republican spending. From Fareed Zakaria’s Leaders Who Won’t Choose
Whatever his other accomplishments, Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history. Since 2001, government spending has gone up from $1.86 trillion to $2.48 trillion, a 33 percent rise in four years! Defense and Homeland Security are not the only culprits. Domestic spending is actually up 36 percent in the same period….”throughout the past 40 years, most presidents have cut or restrained lower-priority spending to make room for higher-priority spending. What is driving George W. Bush’s budget bloat is a reversal of that trend.” To govern is to choose. And Bush has decided not to choose. He wants guns and butter and tax cuts.
It also appears Republicans are starting to distance themselves from Bush’s spending recklessness (which they enabled and egged on):
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said there is a need for dramatic spending cuts in “big-ticket items.”
“We haven’t been disciplined enough over the last 10 years. We need to do that, and we needed to do that before Katrina. We still need to do that over the medium and long term,” Vitter said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said an across-the-board cut in spending, excluding defense spending, would be appropriate.
“We’re failing when it comes to controlling spending,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday.”
Republicans are now the party of fiscal irresponsibility. How can they go to the voters and now claim they’ve seen the light? Their previous actions – especially when compared to the fiscally responsible Clinton – speak louder than their words. They spend recklessly, passing the bill to our children.