Herewith, several explanations of the spending numbers. While conservatives clearly aren’t winning big in the spending wars, we’re doing better than many conservatives have recognized. Much, much more must be done, of course, but the trend towards extravagance has been significantly slowed, although not yet reversed.
First, here is why things are bad, and why the sequester is not, historically speaking, going to purvey much pain. We’re so far outspending Bill Clinton as to make him look like a heartless tightwad (which, of course, he wasn’t).
Second, and this is important, here’s how conservatives have stemmed the tide, starting with the much-maligned debt-limit deal in 2011. Aside from the absolutely horrendous “stimulus” of 2009 (which followed the bad Pelosi-Bush stimulus of 2008), conservatives have decisively stopped further growth in domestic discretionary spending, which is the category we most directly control in the House. Granted, as shown in that first essay, this is operating from an elevated baseline. But what I didn’t put in there is that it does not assume the 2009 stimulus as the baseline, but instead it is compared to the baseline where Bush left it. In short, it’s just bad, not quite goshawful. (And…. please, before you bash me, do read the whole thing. I make clear I am not celebrating one bit, but just going through the numbers to show a little progress.)
Third, my CFIF colleague Tim Lee explains quite convincingly why the deficit/debt problems result from over-spending, not from under-taxation. Key passages:
So if revenues for 2007 and 2013 are the same, yet the 2013 deficit is nearly one trillion dollars, we can isolate the obvious culprit: excessive spending.
For the record, it should also be noted that 2007 was the last year in which Republicans controlled Congress and the White House; it was several years into the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and it was the year in which cumulative spending on the Iraq and Afghan wars peaked.
Accordingly, it is false for anyone to blame the “Bush tax cuts,” wars “that weren’t paid for” or supposedly spendthrift Republicans as the deficit bogeymen. We had never witnessed a trillion-dollar deficit in our nation’s history, but in the years since Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid captured Congressional control and Barack Obama captured the White House, we have seen four trillion-dollar deficits in a row.
There: That’s enough for now.