Unhappy With Bush
Following on to James’ post noting that some conservatives are unhappy with Bush, I thought I’d pile on (even though I’m not really a conservative although I’m called one all the time). My problem with Bush is his spending. He spends, spends, spends, and then spends more…and then even more. Right now Bush’s spending will likely go well over a trillion dollars in the next ten years (the bulk of it being the Medicare Prescription Drug Blackhole). If you are a fiscal conservative and you think deficits are important, or you don’t like higher taxes, then you absolutely have to be disappointed in Bush. There is really no way around this.
While the short term budgetary outlook has improved recently, the overall prospects are still pretty grim. Many conservatives (link link link link) have been crowing about the improved budgetary outlook and ignoring the fine print in that there are reasons not to expect this improvement to continue (CBO). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has an interesting tabel on this deficit reduction.
Note that yes the deficit is lower and yes revenues are higher. But so is spending. Spending went up by $51 billion since CBO last round of projections back in March. Bush just can’t keep from spending money.
And while the CBO and others are projecting economic growth through 2006 they are not projection a surge in economic activity. In other words, we should not expect any more dramatic improvements in the budgetary picture in the near future. Further, while the tax cuts may have been quite fortuitous in there timing, there benefit is likely being offset by the rise in oil/gasoline prices. So this bit of good news, while indeed good news, it doesn’t mean what many are saying in regards to the Laffer curve, tax cuts, and the economy. On top of this the Medicare Prescription Drug program will go into effect in January 2006. So, this notion that the Bush tax cuts are working might be true, but Bush is doing everything he can to spend whatever extra revenue that comes in. Fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and deficit hawks should view Bush in a very bad light.