Red George: America's Profligate Spender

The Economist ran this article on “profligate Bush” this week that may interest some. Apologies for posting such a long article, but it

This is actually pretty funny. On the one claw, they’re criticizing Bush for spending too much, and saying the Democrats would have done better. On the other claw, the Democrats have been blasting Bush for not spending enough and for being a cheap bastard.

So, they think the Democrats would be better for fiscal restraint? Hah.

I submit California as the prime counterexample. Democrat-controlled assembly, Democrat governor, worst deficit and public debt of any state, and might be forced to declare bankruptcy in the near future as a result of the profligate social-program spending that these Democrats have engaged in (and have proven completely unwilling to cut during the rough economic times today) for the last decade.

Actually California is somewhat of a dubious example as a great deal of their spending is earmarked by state wide polls and referendums. In Cali, the citizens have a degree of direct democracy. For example, voters themselves can initiate policy changes, tax cuts, term limits, you name it. It takes a siginificant number of votes to do so, but has been occuring with great frequency (relatively speaking.) Voters can (and have) vote to lower their own taxes and to specify exactly where the revenue they do pay can be spent. One can certainly see how this would handcuff any administration.
Great article in the Economist, (July 5th isssue, p.29) on exactly this subject. It states that approximately 70% of state funding comes to the capital already spent as it were. Leaves little room for manouver.
As to suggestions that Cali is a ‘democratic’ state, while that may be true in areas, this is the state that gave us both Nixon and Reagan, so they’re not averse to a bit o’ conservatism.

Forgot to mention one of the more important counters to the Cali example. Their state government is NOT democratically controlled. While democrats do hold a majority of seats, to pass a bill in California requires a 2/3 majority. This necessitates cross party cooperation which, unsurprisingly, is in short supply.

No. The column criticizes Bush for spending too much (while cutting taxes) and notes that Clinton did much better both at balancing the budget and keeping spending under control. There’s no speculation about whether the Democrat would have done better.

Who knows what they think. The Democrats are only mentioned to make the point that Bush has cut taxes while increasing spending faster than the supposedly “Big Government” Clinton Democrats did. Chickens will come home to roost: