Tyler Cowen points out a new comparison of Bush's spending decisions as compared to previous presidents.
The following table lists how many of the major agencies or departments had their budgets cut in a given Presidential term:President and Term, Number of Budget Cuts [see the last link in this post for further explanation of the data. I've done minor editing and added the boldface]
Johnson, 4 out 15
Nixon, 3 out 15
Carter, 5 out 15
Reagan 1, 8 out 15
Reagan 2, 10 out 15
Bush, George H., 2 out 15
Clinton 1, 9 out 15
Clinton 2, 0 out 15
Bush, George W., 0 out 15
Obviously Reagan II made real efforts in this direction. George W. comes in tied for last with Clinton II. This is a highly imperfect proxy, but when you are 0 for 15 it is hard to blame measurement error alone.
This may all sit well with "National Greatness" neocons. But real conservatives find this record infuriating.
This comes the American Enterprise Institute's Veronique de Rugy in an article entitled. Bush Spending--a Comparison: What Should President Bush Learn from President Reagan?
- President Reagan is the only president to have cut the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in one of his terms (a total of 40.1 percent during his second term).
- President Reagan is the only president to have cut the budget of the Department of Transportation (by 10.5 percent during his first term and by 7.5 percent during his second term).
- President George W. Bush has increased funding for the Department of Transportation by 11.3 percent. It is likely to go up drastically if he does not veto the transportation bill currently before Congress.
- During his first term in office, President Reagan cut the real budget of the Department of Education by 18.6 percent.
- President George W. Bush has increased the real budget of the Department of Education by 67.9 percent.
- Reagan managed to cut the budget of the Department of Commerce by 29 percent during his first term and by 3 percent during his second.
- President Clinton by contrast increased the Department of Commerce's budget by 24 percent in his first term and then by 96.7 percent in his second.
- President Reagan cut the real budget of the Department of Agriculture by 24 percent during his second term in office.
Well, Bush isn't going to learn anything from Reagan. Reagan was a real conservative. But Bush is a faux conservative and like George H. W. Bush and Clinton he obviously likes growing the government. It is far from clear that John Kerry will be any worse than Dubya. Kerry at least shows some signs of curiosity about the world.
The tragedy of this spending splurge is that there are a few targetted areas for research spending such as in energy research where the public good could be served by more spending. But Bush intends to squeeze research spending in order to pay for his many other programs.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 June 15 02:35 PM Politics American Domestic|