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Archive for March 18th, 2011

I thought my post about budget cuts earlier today, mocking the biased language of the Washington Post, was clever. But I’m definitely an amateur blogger.

Check out these posts, at Powerline Blog and Arizona Economics.

These guys put me to shame with very clever calculations and great visuals. Check them both out.

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There’s an interesting debate in the blogosphere about whether President George W. Bush was a conservative (here’s a good summary of the discussion, along with lots of links, though I especially like this analysis since it cites my work.).

I’ve already explained that Bush was a statist rather than a conservative, and you can find additional commentary from me here, here, here, and here.

Simply stated, any President who doubles the burden of federal spending in just eight years is disqualified from being a conservative – unless the term is stripped of any meaning and conservatives no longer care about limited government and constitutional constraints on Washington.

But if you don’t want to read the blog posts I linked above, this chart should make clear that Bush was a big spender, not only when compared to Reagan, but also compared to Clinton. Moreover, we’re only looking at overall domestic spending, so this doesn’t include Iraq, Afghanistan, and other defense expenditures. And these are inflation-adjusted dollars, so we’re comparing apples to apples.

But let’s also examine the burden of domestic spending as a share of GDP. As you can see, there actually was progress during the Clinton years, and significant progress during the Reagan years. But all that was completely wiped out during the Bush presidency.

These numbers should not be a surprise. During Bush’s tenure, we got the no-bureaucrat-left-behind education bill, two corrupt farm bills, a new prescription drug entitlement, two pork-filled transportation bills, an auto company bailout, and a TARP bailout for banks.

This was a time of feasting for special interest groups and lobbyists, to put it mildly.

If that’s conservative, then Ronald Reagan was a liberal.

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Washington is Fantasy Land.

Only in this corrupt city can you turn increases into cuts merely by increasing spending by less than previously planned. And almost every politician magically knows how to transform “spending” into “investment.”

So I’m used to Orwellian word games. But sometimes even I’m shocked, and this excerpt from a Washington Post story is a good (or perhaps bad) example.

The Senate approved another stopgap budget bill Thursday that would keep the federal government open until April 8. The measure, which had already passed the House, is expected to be signed by President Obama on Friday. The bill would cut $6 billion in federal spending. That makes twice this month that lawmakers from both parties have agreed to slash billions from the budget.

Let me see if I understand correctly. Federal spending has soared by more than $2,000,000,000,000 during the Bush-Obama years, pushing the burden of government up to $3,800,000,000,000, yet the reporters who put together this story said that an agreement to trim a trivially tiny slice of 2011 spending would “slash the budget.”

As Charlie Brown would say, good grief. This is the budgetary equivalent of going on a diet by leaving a couple of french fries in the bottom of the bag after binging on three Big Mac meals at McDonald’s.

You probably won’t be surprised to know that sauce for the budget-cutting goose is not sauce for the government-expanding gander.

When Obama wanted to spend about $1 trillion on a failed “stimulus,” did the Washington Post write that he wanted to “bloat” or “explode” the budget? I certainly don’t remember such language.

When Obama wanted to increase the net burden of spending by about $500 billion for his healthcare scheme, did the Washington Post explain that he wanted to “dramatically boost” or “significantly expand” outlays? Maybe I missed the story, but I don’t recollect such language.

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