The Corner

W. and Reagan

Most conservatives who are dismayed by the recent trend of spending aren’t primarily concerned about the deficit–so the fact that it’s a lower percentage of GDP than it was in 1988 doesn’t answer our concern. It is more relevant that spending fell as a percentage of GDP under Reagan, while it has increased under Bush (as McIntyre reports). Nor has this increase been entirely a matter of defense and homeland security spending. Spending outside those categories has risen from 12.8 percent of GDP in 2001 to 14.5 percent in 2005.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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