Sunday, August 13, 2006

Who do you trust with your money?

One of the most significant books of the year was written by former Reagan economic adviser and author of the early Eighties book Reaganomics, Bruce Bartlett. The book is titled Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday 2006). This carefully researched and thoughtful book contains a scathing verdict on President Bush’s economic policies from a respected supply-side conservative economist. Although Democrats may disagree with Bartlett on some philosophical points, the book contains important information on how the borrow-and-spend policies of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress have hurt the country and will invariably result in huge future tax increases. I’d like to share a few important quotes from the book, with the hope that you will get it and read it. (The quotes are from Bartlett himself unless otherwise noted.)

“George W. Bush has seriously hurt the country and set up conditions that will almost certainly lead to consequences that conservatives will find abhorrent. For example, his unwillingness to control spending and willingness to add significantly to it guarantees that there will be a massive tax increase at some point in the near future. I believe that the fiscal hole is so large that only a huge new revenue source like the value added tax can fill it.
“I think it is telling that Bush’s Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, was far better on the budget than he has been. Clinton vetoed bills because they spent too much. Bush never does. Clinton not only reduced the deficit, but he actually cut spending. Bush has increased both. Clinton abolished an entitlement program. Bush created an extremely expensive new one. One can still argue whether Clinton was a better president or a better man than Bush, but on the budget there is no ambiguity. Clinton was much better.”

“I think Clinton meant it when, in his 1996 State of the Union Address, he said, ‘The era of big government is over’. How else to explain that civilian employment in the executive branch fell by 237,000 workers between 1992 and 2000? That’s an impressive performance that any conservative Republican would love to take credit for. Clinton even presided over one of the most significant reductions in government regulation in history. All of Al Gore’s efforts to reinvent government apparently had some impact after all.”

“I believe that the tax cuts – Bush’s signature domestic issue – have been far less effective than they could have been, owing in large part to his unwillingness to properly utilize the traditional policy development process. I believe this is also at the heart of the failure of his Social Security proposal and possibly the Iraq operation as well. It bothers me a great deal that Bush has driven away and even humiliated the few intellectuals in his midst, preferring instead the company of overrated political hacks whose main skill seem to be an ability to say ‘yes’ to whatever he says and ignore the obvious.”

“According to the Citizens Against Government Waste, a watchdog group, there has been more pork-barrel spending during the Bush years than at any time in American history. By their calculations, the Clinton years were fairly typical, with the amount of identifiable pork barrel spending varying between $10 billion and $17.7 billion in 2000. The number of projects went from a low of 958 to a high of 4326 in 2000. But the Bush years are in a class by themselves. Both the amount of money and the number of pork barrel projects have risen every year, from $18.5 billion and 6333 projects in 2001 to $27.3 billion and an amazing 13,999 projects in 2005.”

“(Bush is) the biggest spending president we’ve had in a generation.”
Steven Moore, Club for Growth

“(Bush’s) fiscal record is appalling.”
Ed Crane, Cato Institute

“The final tallies show that overall spending grew by almost 9 percent for the 2003 fiscal year ending September 30, and by 21 percent over the past two years. This is before the $400 billion (yeah, right) Medicare prescription drug benefit and this year’s energy and omnibus spending bills. If Bill Clinton had tolerated this, Republicans would be shouting from the rooftops…..This is astonishing when you recall that only a few years ago ‘revolutionary’ Republicans were proposing to eliminate actual federal programs. Instead, the GOP is now slowly restoring or adding to programs that it once took the political heat for killing or shrinking.”
The Wall Street Journal

“Mr. Bush has few peers among American Presidents in his willingness to let Congress spend as freely as it always wants to do. And the Republican Congress has few peers in history in its willingness to take advantage of the president’s generosity.”
George Melloan, The Wall Street Journal

“Bring back the Clinton Administration! Well, maybe not all of it, but at least its spending habits.”
Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute

“Republicans don’t even pretend to be fiscally conservative anymore.”
Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

“Once released from gridlock by the election of a Republican president who refuses to veto any spending bill, no matter how pork-laden, the truth becomes clear – Republicans aren’t opposed to spending, only spending money on things Democrats want to spend money on. But when the money is being spent on Republican pork or to buy re-election for Republicans, it is okay, or so it seems.”

“Another problem is the creeping corruption inherent in ‘big government conservatism”, which the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait defines as “initiatives that benefit economic elites without using free-market mechanisms.’ Since it is devoid of principle, it too easily becomes an excuse to lavish gifts on those with Republican connections.”

“Journalist Jacob Weisberg correctly noted that Republicans had simply taken the liberal spoils system and converted it to their own purposes. The result, he said, is ‘the curious governing philosophy of interest-group conservatism: the expansion and exploitation of government by people who profess to dislike it.’”

“American University historian Allan Lichtman saw this as a ‘political revolution in the United States, creating a form of conservative big government that promotes not the general interests of ordinary Americans but the special interests of big corporations.’”

So, my fellow Utahns: Who do you trust with your money? We need to shout these facts from the rooftops. The young people in our society should be furious: about the time Congressman Bishop and others of his generation start to retire, our children and grandchildren will be paying tax rates that would make a Swede groan – unless we put an immediate stop to the reckless borrow-and-spend policies of the current Republican controlled Congress.


At 8:17 AM, Blogger Emily For Utah Senate 28 said...

Steve, what do you think it is? Why do the "conservatives" ... especially Utah conservatives... why do they support the president without *question*, and they do it **so** deeply? They act like it is against the law to even raise an eyebrow toward the president, even though the spending policies don't seem "conservative" to me, not even by a long shot.

Oh smart and wise one: Tell me why you think this is?

At 9:51 AM, Blogger John said...


Why would I trust you or any politician with MY money???
The only person I trust is the person who earned it, me.


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