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Is the GOP fiscally conservative?

Old 11-14-07, 12:25 PM
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Is the GOP fiscally conservative?

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/o...rted_1114.html

After six years of remarkably carefree spending, President Bush is trying to use his veto pen to reclaim the mantle of fiscal conservatism for the Republican Party and once again cast the Democrats as the party of spendthrifts. But how does that claim hold up against the historic record?

First, we need to define our terms. Under the classic definition, a fiscal conservative is someone who believes that federal spending should be kept under control and ought to be somewhat in line with federal revenue.

Translated into personal terms, a fiscal conservative would be someone who is uncomfortable about going into debt — he or she would never take out an adjustable-rate mortgage, for example — and would never rely on credit cards to pay their living expenses.

By that definition, fiscal conservatives haven't had much control of the federal budget in recent years. Out-of-control spending and politically popular tax cuts have combined to send our national debt to more than $9 trillion. Today, when a newborn baby takes its first breath in this country, he or she owes the rest of the world almost $30,000.

An amazing chunk of that $9 trillion debt — well over $3 trillion — has been incurred just since Bush took office in 2001. All told, 73 percent of our total national debt has been racked up under our last three Republican presidents: President Bush, his father and President Reagan.

Such numbers can admittedly be misleading, because they don't take into account factors such as inflation and economic growth. According to economists, the better way to assess a nation's financial picture is to measure its national debt as a share of its gross domestic product.

To translate that into personal terms again, a debt of $100,000 might be enough to drive a poorer household into bankruptcy, while that same $100,000 debt wouldn't be a problem for a more affluent household. The more you make, the more you can responsibly borrow.

So when you chart the rise and fall of national debt not in raw numbers, but as a percentage of GDP, what does it show?

It indicates that under every Democratic president since Jimmy Carter, the national debt as a percentage of our GDP has fallen significantly, meaning our longterm financial situation has improved.

And under every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, the national debt as a percentage of GDP has risen significantly, meaning our long-term financial situation has declined.

Of course, Congress also plays an important role in spending decisions. But while Congress and presidents often spar about how much to spend on particular programs, the final overall spending level is typically close to that set by the president.

Under Ronald Reagan, for example, every final budget passed by the largely Democratic Congress was within 1 percent of the total spending that Reagan had requested. And of course, the current President Bush never vetoed a budget bill sent to him when his fellow Republicans controlled Congress.

So the evidence of the historic record is indisputable. Under the classic definition of fiscal conservatism, Democrats are better stewards than Republicans.



I think there are some fiscal conservatives in the GOP, like Flake or Paul. I think Bush has not be fiscally conservative in his tenure in office.

This like is funny: It indicates that under every Democratic president since Jimmy Carter - you mean Clinton?
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Old 11-14-07, 12:29 PM
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In terms of Congress, there's no such thing as a fiscal conservative. As long as we don't have a line item veto, those boobs will continue to spend money on idiotic pork projects for their home constituencies.
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Old 11-14-07, 12:31 PM
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anyone have data on spending while Clinton had the line item veto vs while he didn't? wendersfan?
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Old 11-14-07, 12:32 PM
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democrats have no problem sending pork to their districts either

aka farm bill, ethanol
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Old 11-14-07, 12:34 PM
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Spending other people's money is what gives them power. Either party.

It just differs somewhat on what they want to spend the money on.
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Old 11-14-07, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
democrats have no problem sending pork to their districts either
I never suggested otherwise.
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Old 11-14-07, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
anyone have data on spending while Clinton had the line item veto vs while he didn't? wendersfan?
I can look it up but it will take me a while. I'm working on something else right now.
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Old 11-14-07, 12:47 PM
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Info 'n' graphs... until wendersfan can get to 'em.
http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm
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Old 11-14-07, 12:50 PM
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Didn't Clinton use the line item veto?

democrats have no problem sending pork to their districts either

aka farm bill, ethanol
And, they have no problem paying for nutritional programs which make up 2/3 of the farm bill.
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Old 11-14-07, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Didn't Clinton use the line item veto?



And, they have no problem paying for nutritional programs which make up 2/3 of the farm bill.
Line Item Veto Act of 1996
The President of the United States was briefly granted this power by the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, passed by Congress in order to control "pork barrel spending" that favors a particular region rather than the nation as a whole. The line-item veto was used 11 times to strike 82 items from the federal budget by President Bill Clinton. [3][4]

However, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan ruled on February 12, 1998, that unilateral amendment or repeal of only parts of statutes violated the U.S. Constitution. This ruling was subsequently affirmed on June 25, 1998, by a 6-3 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Clinton v. City of New York. The case was brought by former New York City mayor and Rudy Giuliani.

A constitutional amendment to give the President line item veto power has been considered periodically since the Court ruled the 1996 act unconstitutional.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line-item_veto
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Old 11-14-07, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wishbon3
Info 'n' graphs... until wendersfan can get to 'em.
http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm
looks liek the debt increased by a higher % under Clinton than Bush
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Old 11-14-07, 12:56 PM
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Bush is about as much a fiscal conservative as Ronald Reagan was.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:05 PM
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Here's one graph I did yesterday for my own amusement. It's somewhat related:

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Old 11-14-07, 01:24 PM
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What is income security?
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Old 11-14-07, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
What is income security?
Food stamps, SSI, unemployment benefits, etc. It's the programs most people think of when they think of "welfare."

Also, I lumped Medicare and Medicaid together as health expenditures. I can break them out if needed, but I only wanted four distinct categories.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:28 PM
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According to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Republicans in Congress are definitely more conservative on fiscal matters than are Democrats:

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Old 11-14-07, 01:29 PM
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Where's the master line for total federal spending as % of GDP
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Old 11-14-07, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
According to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), Republicans in Congress are definitely more conservative on fiscal matters than are Democrats:

but what does taht include? Just regular taxes? Does it take into account "interest taxes" or whatever people call them
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Old 11-14-07, 01:31 PM
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also, is there a graph of those spendings as a % of all spending instead of GDP?
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Old 11-14-07, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
Where's the master line for total federal spending as % of GDP
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Old 11-14-07, 01:34 PM
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Gah! Can you give me a comprehensive list of what you want?

For the NTU rankings, I copied this from their website:
Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes--every vote that affects taxes, spending, and debt. Unlike most organizations that publish ratings, we refuse to play the "rating game" of focusing on only a handful of congressional votes on selected issues. The NTU voting study is the fairest and most accurate guide available on congressional spending. It is a completely unbiased accounting of votes.

NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote's effect on federal spending.

NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score.

NTU's federal budget experts assigned a weight to each vote ranging from 1 to 100. A low weight was assigned to votes that had relatively little effect on the size of the federal budget, while a high weight was assigned to votes with the most significant effect on federal spending.

Weights were based solely on the relative effect of each vote on the total amount of federal spending. Consideration was given to the political effect of a vote on the future federal spending, even though relatively little spending might be immediately at issue. A vote with average importance should have a weight close to 10.

Scores were computed by dividing the weighted total of votes cast against higher spending (or taxes or for lower spending or taxes), by the weighted total number of spending and tax issues on which the member of Congress voted. Average scores for each state were also computed using the weighted total of votes cast by each state delegation.

In computing these scores, we included only those votes on which the member actually voted for or against a bill, resolution, or amendment. Paired votes, announced positions, and absences were excluded. Because some members were absent frequently (or otherwise failed to vote yes or no), their scores, based on relatively few votes, may not accurately reflect spending attitudes. The members falling into this category are noted.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:35 PM
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aren't SS and health not part of the budget and not open to debate like defense? whatever the bill is, the government pays it

income security has been pawend off to the states as unfunded mandates
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Old 11-14-07, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
aren't SS and health not part of the budget and not open to debate like defense? whatever the bill is, the government pays it
Of course they're part of the budget.

There's entitlement spending and there's discretionary spending.

Social Security is entitlement spending.

Defense is discretionary spending.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
Of course they're part of the budget.

There's entitlement spending and there's discretionary spending.

Social Security is entitlement spending.

Defense is discretionary spending.
Thank you.
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Old 11-14-07, 01:45 PM
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but the only way the government can cut SS or medicare is by voting a change in the payment schedule which no one will ever do. it's no one's fault the boomers are retiring soon and SS payments will skyrocket
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