Thursday, September 11, 2003

Government growth explodes under Bush

I nearly missed this article in the Wall Street Journal while I was on my maternity leave last week:

Despite Bush’s Credo, Government Grows
As Conservatives Groan, Study Cites Increase of Employees on Federal Contracts, Grants

from the Sept. 4 issue, page A4.

“The Bush Administation has brought the era of big government back...”

According to this study from the Brookings Institution, the number of full-time employees on government contracts and grants has zoomed by more than 1 million people since 1999. The study found that the growth during the Bush years has occurred in such diverse areas as the Department of Health and Human Services and the General Services Administation - not just in areas such as homeland security and defense.

The study has upset a number of conservative scholars who bemoan the increase in the government’s size since Bush took office.
“We are now seeing the biggest expansion in government since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House,” says Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth. “It is pretty much an across-the-board mushrooming of government. We have the biggest education, foreign aid and agriculture bills in history, and bigger expansions are on the agenda.”

Heritage Foundation economist Daniel Mitchell called the growth in government under Bush “very troubling for conservatives.”
“That is quite discouraging,” Mitchell said, “particularly since we made so much progress under Clinton in reducing the size of government.”

Mitchell notes that government was much better contained under President Clinton, in part because he faced a skeptical Republican Congress.

But now, with Republicans running the whole show, government growth is exploding. And that wouldn’t be so bad except that Bush blindly refuses to acknowledge and pay for the growth and thus his fiscally irresponsible tax cuts are causing the deficit to roar out of control.

So if you want to get the nation back to some semblance of fiscal sanity the answer is obvious - elect a Democratic president in 2004 (again), either that or put the Democrats back in control of the Congress.

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