The Reason the GOP has been DOA – Mercatus GWB Spending Study

Charts Don’t lie. A picture is worth a thousand words. Note the Total spending above and discretionary figures from Clinton (dark blue), and GWB, (light blue). Bush’s spending in total dollars was nearly double that of Clinton’s. Compassionate Conservatism on a chart. Click here for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the “Spending Under President George W. Bush” study.

The chart to the right shows annual congressional pork costs. Remember earmarks are the oft-touted scourge of politics today and both parties are guilty of stuffing bills with goodies that benefit their constituents. Pork came to an all-time high under Republican control of both houses. Compassionate conservatism again, RINOistas, and a party that lost it’s way.

From Newsmax “President George Bush was the largest social spender in history, in his first term Bush increased discretionary spending 19 percent. During Bush’s second term federal spending increased 49%” I may add as well that the last figure also represents the stimulus spending, bailouts, TARP, etc. But as Nick from It’s Just My Opinion points out, Congress at the end of the day holds the key to spending, the President signs spending bills sent from congress. Perhaps the more accurate term in the charts and this summary above as well would be to label the spending as Congressional spending and budgets signed by GWB, Although, I add, spending always stops at the President’s desk and the dust was never brushed off of Bush’s veto pen……

Needless to say this is the essence to me of how the Republican party lost it’s way years ago. Compassionate conservatism heralded in a new era of federal outlays that put even LBJ to shame. An ethos based on watering down Reagan and being ‘realistic’ was doomed to failure on many levels. Thus today you have 22% Republican registered voters in the country. Americans, including Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents know that the party became worse than Democrats on spending historically speaking, only for history to be shattered by the Obamanation. With Democrats you at least get what you see – they make no bones about it, they want to spend, tax everything that moves, and put themselves in bueracratic positions of power over rapidly increasing areas of our lives. Even to the point of today’s spending debt-financed future dollars and druken tax-dollar partying to the point of putting our country’s future at risk. Note chart at top of this column.

The Obamanation is emboldened by the charts at the top of this piece. He knows, along with the Democrat leadership that his only substantial opposition to remaking American society truly has no philosophical standing to support it. In many ways it explains the brevity and shocking speed at which the progressives are pushing through their goals. They believe in the empowerment of big-government to a historically unforeseen level and don’t have a legitimate opposition.

As the Democrat agenda increases daily, the cries from the media-friendly GOP faithful are for the party to moderate itself, that the party is too ‘right-wing’ (Alren Specter), that Reagan is a long-gone fuddyduddy. Let bygones be bygones they say. The Democrats have something in the words of Jeb Bush.

The real solution for the party? To embrace Free – Market Austrian economics, empowerment of individuals. To embrace, as Tom McClintock put forth, 3 simple concepts – Freedom, Abundance, Responsibility.


bluepitbull said…

Yeah, and I wasn’t a fan of much of GWB’s domestic policies. Most involved showing liberals how ‘compassionate’ ,as you said, he was.

Still, lets see this study in four years with obama next to them.

Nick said…

Although I totally agree with the supposition that out-of-control spending was rampant under Bush, I think it’s unfair to lay the blame entirely on the president (Bush, Clinton, or otherwise). We, the intelligent bloggers (unlike the mass media), should be knowledgeable enough about how the country actually works to correctly attribute the spending to Congress, who actually spends the country’s money.

… which doesn’t excuse the Republicans, since they controlled Congress for much of the Clinton and Bush years. The Democrats were only in control from 2003-2005, and from 2007 to present. In that context, though, both parties are pretty equally to blame for excessive spending.

Of course, blaming the Republicans for excessive spending in comparison to Obama with the Democrats running Congress is like claiming $100 million is a large reduction in wasteful spending: yeah, it’s a lot of money, but really it pales in comparison to the massive amount of money sitting right next to it. The CBO’s gonna need a much bigger axis to graph the damage we’re gonna suffer under the Obamanation…

Left Coast Rebel said…

Nick – the blame that I am laying on Bush is simply the groundwork or launching pad from which the Obamanation is now collectivizing the US, even though the Obamanation is 4x worse the GWB. Bush still takes a lot of the blame for destroying economic conservatism, signing every spending bill that Congress sent him over the years. Even though Congress does appropriate tax dollars, the president has a veto pen. I’m not sure if you think the gist of my article was to lay blame on the Repubs for the current spending? My point once again, is more along the line that the Repubs lost their souls and eventually gave us what we have now, a pure Socialist in the White House….

RightKlik said…
This post has been removed by the author.
RightKlik said…

Here, here!

Unfortunately, Americans think that the solution to extravagant spending is to elect politicians who are even worse than the original big spenders.

Left Coast Rebel said…

RK – exactly, if voters really did want a ‘change’ from GWB and the big spending congress, they would have ushered in a new class of libertarian/republican fiscal restrainers…….

Nick said…

I agree with the sentiment, and Bush certainly contributed to the problem by not taking a hard (or even tissue paper strong) stance against out-of-control spending. To a certain extent, they both learned their lessons from previous presidents, who inflated the debt without apparent consequence, and indeed in some cases are remembered fondly. As Clinton showed, it doesn’t matter how destructively you undermine the long-term health of the country (NAFTA, changing unemployment definition, eviscerating the accuracy of the CPI, etc.), as long as you give people enough handouts and spending during your term, people will remember you fondly. Bush was following the doctrine, he just ended up kinda holding the bag when the various bubbles finally collapsed.

… but I’m off on a tangent again. I agree with you, LCR: the country desperately needs someone (and preferably many people) in office willing to say “enough is enough”, and stop devolving the country into a socialist morass.

Left Coast Rebel said…

Nick – I really appreciate your intellect and opinion, it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of…..On your points here, I truly think that Bush and Clinton were incredibly similiar, Clinton had a fiscally sane congress that held him accountable for some time, he was nearly as nutty as the Obamanation at the beginning. I think that Bush was highly skeptical of the classical liberalism train of thought and it showed through in his actions. He never was a conservative, just used them to get elected…..I’m doing my best here to get the message of Socialist morass out and to try to rally folks to those that are different….I hope that you and I will see this thing turn around (if it’s possible), and that our economic future hasn’t been flushed down the toilet. I assume that you are a close age to me……

The Law said…

LCR, I think you make a very honest assement of the current state of the union. It is very crucial to point out that Obama does not want to control the world. Had there been no stimulus and all those financial companies died a free market death, the damage to the system would have been catastrophic because those institutions held the keys to the national AND international economy.

The plan was to use the stimulus to stabilize the economy, and EASE GOVERNMENT OUT OF BUSINESSES. (he clearly states this on the C-Span interview last friday). If we take our bias out of the equation, Obama is not really the leftist the leftwing media make him out to be (and yes the left wing media!)

Also, I 100% agree with ur assement about the GOP and will do you one better, I think libertarians, if they get out early (now) stand a good chance to crush the GOP. The libertaian platform is more in tune with America than the GOP by far. I wager the 2012 Presidential election will be a 3 party race, Obama, GOP, AND a libertarian.

Prediction #2, if the GOP stay on this current path, libertarian support increases, and libertarians do well in 2010 (I really think they can) expect the republican party to run out of gas by 2016.

CJ said…

The real solution for the party? To embrace free-market Austrian economics, empowerment of individualsI agree, but part of that is dropping the thing regresives like the gov’t doing– mainly things broadly related to hurting, punishing, or giving people a hard time. That means reducing military, the “war” on drugs, the “war” on terrorism, anti-marriage stuff and so on. I have a suspicion if someone could go after that stuff as hard as going after programs that try to provide food and healthcare people would support it because it goes after things where the gov’t is trying to help and trying to punish.

Left Coast Rebel said…

The Law – I agree that libertarians are gainings steam, you can clearly see a side of the new surge in independent-registered voters that show this. You may be on to something as far as on up and coming surge within their ranks. The GOP in the Goldwater/Reagan/ and Ron Paul side stood/stand for individualism and freedom….if you look at my links on the right side of the site here, you will see that I clearly am not a GOP’er although as a youth I was. I disagree with you on the stimulus though, that’s another debate entirely. We’ll see how the party does – if they embrace upcoming leaders such as Pat Toomey (running for senate), Rand Paul(may run for Senate), Paul Ryan ( house leader, I love him), and others such as Ron Paul, a genius on economics then the party will right itself. If not they will be relegated to the ash-heap of history as they deserve. Then a true center-right party will emerge.

CJ – You might be surprised but I agree on some of your points.

1. – Marriage should not be a federal issue. If Massachusetts believes that gays should marry, then so be it. If Utah doesn’t then so be it.
2. – The War on Drugs – an outright failure. Surely we could do better on this issue.
3. – The War on Terror – I believe that we live in a dangerous world and that the military needs to be strong.That’s not to say though that the military, just as the case with any federal system should not be streamlined. Also,that doesn’t mean that I think we should be nation building overseas too. I believe in a more temperate foreign policy but in self defense as well.
4. – I don’t believe in many of the things that ‘regressives’ as you call them want our government to do as well as I don’t agree with many of the things that the ‘progressives’ want our government to do. Hope that’s not too confusing…..thanks for coming by

Larry Walker Jr said…

Thanks for pointing this out lefty.

Left Coast Rebel said…

Larry – Hope you are not calling me ‘lefty’ as that would be the first time in my entire life that I would be called that…..hope it’s pointed at CJ or The Law…..

A.C. McCloud said…

One thing to note–the chart shows a significant increase in revenue to the govt under Bush versus Clinton despite the fact BC raised taxes. So they know giving money back stimulates growth, they just haven’t figured out how to cut spending and get reelected.

Here’s an idea that’s floating around–a constitutional amendment capping spending. There would be exclusions for nat’l security.

As to 2012, I agree the Libertarians will make a bigger showing but it will only serve to make the Obama victory appear more decisive with the conservatives split.

Left Coast Rebel said…

AC McCloud – You are right, it is known that cutting tazes actually increases revenues but as you say, they can’t connect the dots between cutting spending and getting reelected. Of note on this as well, I believe that we could have merely freezed spending and grown our way out of the largess of the federal government. I love the constitutional amendment idea.

Nick said…

The Law:

I think it’s important to realize there is a huge difference between what Obama says and what he does. Like Clinton, he has mastered the art of saying whatever the popular opinion is at the time, regardless of what he intends to do (or has just done). To date the liberal press is giving him a free pass to lie blatantly, and that’s likely to continue for the most part; that should not in any way compel us (the cognoscente observers) to take anything he says on face value.

I could point to any number of Obama’s statements where he has been distorting, misrepresenting, or outright lying, but that would just be reiterating what a simple google search or blog history read would make plainly obvious. What’s important is that Obama’s actions indicate that not only does he want the government to effectively control the banking industry, but other major industries as well (auto, energy, medical, etc.). Obama doesn’t really believe the “stimulus” pork spending will somehow magically restart the bubble economy any more than LCR believes Obama is good for the country; Obama may be a socialist and a liar, but he’s not an idiot.


You are correct, we are demographically similar. I too hope it’s not too late for a turnaround, but the pragmatic side of me looks at the magnitude of the problem and the sheer volume of stupidity in the way, and concludes that it’s not particularly likely. Where’s John Galt when we really need him?


Good post LCR. There was actually a strategy to the Bush “spend-o-rama” and it was FATALLY flawed. A few months from now I’m going to post on it because I have some inside info on WHY they did it–after things have calmed down, and my dad’s source has moved on with his life. Either way, it was very misguided.
Keep up the good work!

conservative generation said…


I think the only Republicans that would disagree with you are the ones currently holding an office in the Federal Government. I’ve long argued that the elements of our economy have been destablizing over the years. If we don’t act soon, it’ll take years to recover.

The Law said…


you can make the same statement about every single politican in federal, state, and local governments. For example, I think that Tom McClintock’s speech was woefully short-sided, fails to recognize that a nations wealth is determind by the gap between the richest and poorest (which grows larger with every passing year) not just individiual wealth, and the focus on the individual will make us disconnected from one another, when the trend is global interconnectivity. If he were president, I would say everything he does is wrong, and he is leading us down the wrong path. Ultimately he’d get to te big chair and realize that cutting one program would have massive dominoe effect consequences, and he would likely back track. Liberals would call him a flip floping liar, and libertarians would quickly come to his defense, saying that it will take a long time to undo the mess of Obamanation.

Such is the way of politics. The arguments are focused on personal attributes. We don’t look at root causes of the problem, but rather a series of short term solutions. Obama is like a chess player… he is looking at how things will be affected years down the road. Since converatives rarely look at things in those terms, its easy to see why you dislike him so much. But if you listen very closely, you’ll find you have more in common with him than you think.

conservative generation said…


really? Obama’s looking long term? So when will the government be getting out of the health care business? If he’s looking to fix the problem via the government, then one day it’ll be fixed and not need the government, right? So once he fixes education, we shouldn’t need to continually have record spending on education, since he’s thinking so longterm, right? If the costs get too high and show no sign of decreasing, does Obama plan to get out of health care and education? My definition of fixing something in the long term is creating a solution that does not need to be forever funded and propped up by increased taxes no matter how high the costs will get. Yet every government program has become a burden in the longterm. Medicare, medicaid, social security, the post office…I can go on and on.

Left Coast Rebel said…

Nick – Maybe you and I are junior John Galts…I agree with you

Jingoist – Give us all a ‘heads-up’ on your article on this theme, perhaps I will link you and send some traffic your way, I want these facts to be known!

The Law – I disagree with you 1,000,000% on your definition of a nation’s wealth being determined by the gap between the rich and poor, that’s a topic for later….

Conservative Generation – I agree as well, I saw the real estate debacle coming in 2004 here in So California, it was insane, the mania over real estate and I knew that it would end badly…BTW nice to see you back, I am looking forward to new content on your blog!

The Law said…

CGen, nice to see you back =) Your presence in my personal blogosphere was sorely missed!

Now, public education has always been from its inception a government program. Thus there is no intention to hand it off to private enterprise. Just like everything else, things costs more over time. There was a time when a loaf of brea was a penny, now its $2.50. The problem is the expenses have grown faster than our paychecks. I am a firm believer that public education can work just fine if we attack the root problem of poor teacher training, way too powerful teacher’s unions, and modernized facilities with computers and labs. I’m still pulling my sources for where the education money is going, but I know a large part of it is going to rebuilding schools. The other countries who are running circles around us in education are not free market systems, they are super effieicnt government systems. If I had to pick a political area of expertise, it would undoubtedly be education. I can tell you that a free market only education system is not in the best interest of the country, and our children’s education is a worthwhile investment.

Regaridn healthcare, you keep your doctor, you keep your private healthcare provider. I don’t understand why, if you work in this country, why the H do I not have health care protection? Whats the solution? tax breaks that do not equal the amount of the premium? I have yet to hear from anyone any solutions. I can respect your nay arguments, but I’d like to know what the solution is to these issues.

LCR, I will keep my ammo in the armory until the battle arises, but I’m ready when you are =)

adagioforstrings said…

Using the acronym for “Freedom, Abundance, and Responsibility”, the GOP can turn the left’s attack of F.A.R. right into a compliment.

Post a Comment