The Right Coast

June 17, 2004
More on Reagan
By Mike Rappaport

Take a look at this AEI paper comparing Reagan and Bush's spending. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.) Key point:

Ronald Reagan sought--and won--more spending cuts than any other modern president. He is the only president in the last forty years to cut inflation-adjusted nondefense [discretionary] outlays, which fell by 9.7 percent during his first term. George W. Bush, in contrast, increased real nondefense spending by at least 25.3 percent during his first term.
Reagan's accomplishment is impressive. While David Stockman is famous for suggesting that Reagan was unwilling and unable to cut spending sufficiently, Reagan was, as usual, far and wide better than any of his predecessors and successors in this area. Bush 41 and Clinton during his first term both cut total discretionary spending (both defense and nondefense), but in both cases the cuts came from defense spending due to the Cold War's end -- cuts which were made possible by Ronald Reagan's policies.