We now have Republicans downticket effectively throwing John McCain over the side, arguing that with Obama likely to win the Presidency voters should be reluctant to give spending power to that group of big spenders led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The argument now goes that we need the fiscal restraint offered by Republicans to overcome the Democratic desire to spend. I guess the people making the argument think everyone has forgotten that we had one party rule for five years of the Bush administration, and we must go back to the Great Society of L.B.J. to see such profilgate spending. Lets look at some real numbers from the Republican free market website Reason Online:
Total real discretionary outlays will increase about 35.8 percent under Bush (FY2001-06) while they increased by 25.2 percent under LBJ (FY1964-69) and 11.9 percent under Reagan (FY1981-86). By contrast, they decreased by 16.5 under Nixon (FY1969-74) and by 8.2 percent under Clinton (FY1993-98). Comparing Bush to his predecessors is instructive. Bush and Reagan both substantially increased defense spending (by 44.5 and 34.8 percent respectively). However, Reagan cut real nondefense discretionary outlays by 11.1 percent while Bush increased them by 27.9 percent. Clinton and Nixon both raised nondefense spending (by 1.9 percent and 23.1 respectively), but they both cut defense spending substantially (by 16.8 and 32.2 percent).
And when President Bush suggested that large increases in federal spending for disaster relief be offset by reductions in standard pork the fellows we are now supposed to rely on to “control” the Dems gave their response:
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.”
Some of the greatest runups in federal spending have occurred during one party Republican rule, and we are now to believe that the Republicans are the “fiscal watchdogs”? It is interesting that the Bush numbers remain at the top even if you take out his huge increases in defense spending. And it is also notable that Bush, like L.B.J., believed that you could have guns and butter, and just borrow the money to make sure Americans did not feel the pinch of rising taxes to support the massive Republican spending increases. So Reid, Pelosi and Obama are the new spending axis of evil? What does that make Lott, Hastert, and Bush?