It is fairly certain that the people have knocked the Democrats down a few notches in the recent midterm elections partially due to lack of satisfaction of our runaway budget. But just how effective have the Republicans been in recent history regarding spending habits? The answer may (or may not) surprise you – Republicans have actually been far worse than Democrats in containing deficit spending. Veronique De Rugy of the Mercatus Center concluded at the end of his Presidential term “During his eight years in office, President Bush spent almost twice as much as his predecessor, President Clinton. Adjusted for inflation, in eight years, President Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent. In eight years, President Bush increased it by a whopping 104 percent.” It should be noted that half of Clinton’s administration during that budget increase was the last time we had a Democrat President and a Republican Congress, during their “Contract With America” days. Despite all the legislation that passed during those years in the late 90’s, we still saw a budget increase of 11 percent.
One of the big issues coming forth in our legislation is military spending cuts. Thus far, Republican Ron Paul along with Democrat Barney Frank lead the call from Congress to cut military spending. His newly-elected son Rand Paul, the next Senator of Kentucky, stated in a videotape posted on his website, “There’s not enough money just in welfare to cut to balance the budget. You have to look at the entire budget, and approximately 40% of that budget is military.” Another Republican that has developed a bit of a reputation of attacking growth in government spending is Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who has written letters to key people in office to fight military defense spending increases, noting that not only are we seeing an increase, but we are spending more and getting less out of it.
Unfortunately, these Republicans seem to be more of the exception to the rule of the established GOP. While these exceptions to the rules bring hope that they can push for change within their ranks, history eliminates most of that optimism with dreadful cynicism. For a party that celebrates less government in the economy so much, it appears more like they only pay lip service to that principle.