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Archive for November 17th, 2009

This blog has consistently complained about the statist policies of the Obama Administration, leading a number of people to complain that I am pro-Republican. Or they assume that I was a Bush supporter. Nothing could be further from the truth. If people have watched my videos or seen my various TV interviews, you will have seen me excoriate big-government Republicans such as Bush. And this is not something I started to do on January 20, 2009. I was an unrelenting critic of the Wall Street bailout in Bush’s final months. And I was bitterly complaining about Bush’s fiscal profligacy even before then. Here are some of the highlights of a column that I wrote in early 2007, which was titled “Bring Back Clinton”:

To paraphrase Clinton Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, George Bush is no Ronald Reagan. …on Bush’s watch, and with his signature, the burden of federal spending rose to 20.3 percent of GDP in 2006, up from just 18.5 percent when he took office. During the Clinton years, by contrast, federal spending fell as a share of GDP, from 21.4 percent in 1993 to 18.5 percent in 2001. …even when defense spending is excluded, Clinton reduced the burden of government, while Bush has expanded it. …According to the Congressional Budget Office, entitlement spending has increased from 10.9 percent of GDP when Bush took office to 11.9 percent of GDP in 2006. During the Clinton years, spending on so-called mandatory programs fell from 11.2 percent of GDP to 10.9 percent of GDP. The domestic discretionary spending numbers tell a similar story: During the Clinton years, these programs dropped from 3.4 percent of GDP to 3.2 percent. Since Bush took office, they have risen to 3.5 percent. …Take trade, for example. At best, Bush has a mixed record. The Central American Free Trade Agreement is a step in the right direction, but his steel tariffs and agricultural subsidies are examples of anti-trade initiatives. Clinton policy was unambiguously pro-trade, however, largely because of the approval and implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that also launched the World Trade Organization. Clinton gets a better grade on regulatory policy, as well. Bush signed into law the prohibitively expensive Sarbanes-Oxley law, as well as a market-distorting energy bill. The Clinton years, by contrast, saw the burden of regulation reduced on numerous sectors of the economy, including agriculture, financial services and telecommunications. Clinton also beats Bush on federalism. He signed a welfare reform legislation that ended an entitlement program and reduced the central government’s power and authority. On education, Bush went the other direction. His No Child Left Behind Act increased federal control over an area that properly belongs under the purview of state and local governments.

If people want to call me an anti-government ideologue, I don’t think that’s completely accurate, but it’s a fair observation. If people want to call me an unrealistic libertarian dreamer, I plead guilty. But please don’t denigrate me by saying I’m a Republican.

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We just posted about a crazy idea from England to give each person a carbon allowance. A few months ago, we posted about the government in the U.K. interfering with two mothers who take turns babysitting each other’s children. Now we have a story from the Times about bureaucrats wanting to barge into people’s homes and maintain databases to see whether they are being government-approved parents. This brings nanny-state fascism to a new low:

Health and safety inspectors are to be given unprecedented access to family homes to ensure that parents are protecting their children from household accidents. New guidance drawn up at the request of the Department of Health urges councils and other public sector bodies to “collect data” on properties where children are thought to be at “greatest risk of unintentional injury”. …The draft guidance by a committee at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has been criticised as intrusive and further evidence of the “creeping nanny state”. …Nice also recommends the creation of a new government database to allow GPs, midwives and other officials who visit homes to log health and safety concerns they spot. …Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is a huge intervention into family life which will be counter-productive. “Good parents will feel the intrusion of the state in their homes and bad parents will now have someone else to blame if they don’t bring up their children in a sensible, safe environment.”

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