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June 22, 2005

Big Spendin' Bush

Veronique de Rugy writes that you'd have to go back to the Johnson Administration to find a bigger expansion of federal spending.

And he's got charts and graphs to prove it.

I partially defend Bush on this. But only partially. Of course we needed a dramatic expansion in spending on the military and domestic security organizations like the FBI. Sure, a lot of that was wasteful, but that's what government does. It wastes 70 cents of every dollar given to it, and that's pretty much an unavoidable loss, like the loss of energy through friction and disipation through heat.

And, given the 9-11 disaster -- which was also an economic disaster -- I do wonder if it would have been wise to cut government spending. I'm not a real Keynesian -- honestly, I don't know enough about economics to be an anyone-ian -- but it does seem that with the private sector cutting down on spending in response to a huge economic shock, the government should attempt to counter the private sector by at least holding spending at status quo levels, if not actually increasing it.

And finally-- look, we can all whine about federal spending on education, but the political reality is that the public sees more dollars as better schooling for their kids. Until conservatives can convince the public that that equation does not scan, arguing against spending on education (at the federal level) is, like Kurt Vonnegut said of war, arguing against glaciers.

All that said-- the man has to get himself under control. As does Congress. Did the Republican Congress really believe in controlling spending, or did they just seek to thwart Clinton?

If the latter, why are they so eager to spend, spend, spend under Bush?

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posted by Ace at 01:13 PM

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