The Right Coast

September 19, 2005
Bush's Spending
By Mike Rappaport

Despite the fact that Bush's spending proposals are probably better in form than simply government administered largess (see the previous post), the amount of this spending, when combined with previous spending, is enormous. Stephen Moore makes the case in today's Wall Street Journal.

Sadly, one must acknowledge that George Bush has been a disaster for small government. I used to be a single issue voter, asking which candidate will lead to smaller government. While I now am willing to concede the importance of other issues, I still believe this is the generally the most important matter. And on this issue, Bush gets an F.

This is not to say that the Democrats would have been better. My guess is that Kerry and Gore would have wanted to spend even more. And the form of their spending would have involved more government decisions. Nonetheless, there is no point in denying that Bush has done tremendous harm to the nation and to the cause of limited government. If Iraq turns out well and the process of promoting freedom in the Middle East is reasonably successful, he may even seem to have a successful presidency. And given that there were no lower spending alternatives, I suppose that Bush was clearly to be preferred. Still, while one prefers a grade of C to a grade of D or F, that does not make a C a good grade.

Update: The Wall Street Journal continues the theme:

What President Bush, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and other Republicans haven't figured out yet is that deficit spending isn't a problem for them unless it endangers the broader conservative agenda. If it does, it will become the electoral issue. And what we're seeing is that Katrina is swamping every goal conservatives have, from limiting government to cutting taxes to reforming entitlement programs. Katrina spending has already imperiled plans to repeal the death tax, and Congress is already $60 billion into a spending binge. Handing out $2,000 debit cards was just the beginning. The conservative Congress has brought back the welfare state.