I do think that it’s worth emphasizing again that you don’t have to be a green eyeshade type, or balanced budget obssessive (I’m neither) to think that Bush’s spending goes far beyond anything that could remotely be considered ‘conservative’. Boosting spending to avoid deflation in 2001 made sense, as (obviously) does spending relating to the terrorist threat, Katrina (mostly), and the war against Islamic extremism, but this administration has been blowing taxpayer dollars in a way that beggars belief, and eventually may beggar the country.
Over at Reason Veronique de Rugy and Nick Gillespie do some of the numbers. Check out the statistics for the increase in non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending for the first five years of the Bush administration. According to de Rugy and Gillespie it has increased by 36 percent, compared with the fall of 11.1 percent under Reagan alluded to by Peter. Bush may be many good things, but he’s no Reagan.
Gillespie and De Rugy sum up thus:
Bush and LBJ alone massively increased defense and nondefense spending. Perhaps not coincidentally, Bush and LBJ also shared control of the federal purse with congressional majorities from their own political parties. Which only makes Bush’s performance more troubling. Like a lax parent who can’t or won’t discipline his self-centered toddler, he has exercised virtually no control whatsoever over Congress. In the wake of massive new funding for the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush did timidly suggest that some of the new money be matched by reductions in pork projects embedded in the just-passed transportation bill. The Republican response to such efforts is summed up by Alaska Rep. Don Young’s reply to critics of a $223 million “bridge to nowhere” in Ketchikan. Proponents of budgetary “offsets” can “kiss my ear,” Young told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, adding that paying for Katrina-related measures by trimming transportation pork is “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”