Party of Big Government   Leave a comment

In October, the Republican-majority Congress passed the first $4 trillion federal budget in U.S. history. At $4.1 trillion, the budget represents an approximately 5% increase in spending over the last fiscal year of the Obama administration and sets the stage for President Trump to do what every GOP president has done since WWII — increase spending far more than did his Democratic predecessor.

Remember, I’m a non-partisan fiscal conservative, not a Republican.

Image result for image of donald trump and mitch mcconnellMath was never my favorite subject in school, but it doesn’t take much more than elementary math to figure out that, if spending increases, either taxes or deficits must also increase. Historically, the GOP has been happy to allow deficits to explode, but that’s going to be a hard hand to play after eight-years of attacking Obama’s deficits, which increased the federal government’s debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion.

So, what are Republicans likely to do? Raise taxes, of course. Their move in the tax reform bill shows this. By eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes (which doesn’t affect me at all being as I live in Alaska), the Republicans had taxes to traditionally “blue” areas at the benefit to traditionally “red” areas. It is likely that those people who hate paying taxes the most will leave those states with higher taxes to move to states with lower taxes. So you’re going to see quite a few Republicans moving to Republican strongholds.

The GOP will then use this as evidence that people want smaller, low tax government with more freedom and prosperity.

Which we probably do, but the reality is that when Republicans occupy the White House, government grows exponentially, because  Republicans think tariffs aren’t taxes and “infrastructure,” the military, and other boondoggles conservatives like don’t constitute government spending. The two-term presidencies of George W. Bush, Reagan, and Ford/Nixon all approximately doubled federal spending, while Clinton’s and Obama’s raised them a mere 25% and 28%, respectively.

Yes, some of those Republican presidents had Democratic Congresses, but Reagan never  asked for a 25% cut which Congress overrode with increases. Reagan consistently proposed huge increases in spending and Congress largely gave him what he asked for, merely shifting a little spending around at the margins. And, yes, I am a fan of Ronald Reagan. I’m also a realist. George W. Bush did the same thing – paid lip service to fiscal conservancy while consistently proposing spending increases which Congress willingly gave to him.

Spending is not the only issue. The federal government suffers from serious mission creep and most of it can be traced back to Republican presidents creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (today HHS and the Department of Education), the EPA, and the spectacularly destructive (and ultimately failed) War on Drugs.

Yes, the wealthiest people in America live in the coastal elite “blue” zones, which tend to impose egregious taxes on their residents. They will be taxed the most because they would no longer be able to write off those taxes. And, yes, that might possibly result in some blue states being forced to lower taxes in order to avoid the penalty. But, be honest, when your income is in the tens of millions, income tax increases are small potatoes. It’s those earners with incomes between $100,000 and $200,000 who will be hurt the most by extra taxes. In that income bracket, those extra taxes represent saving for your children’s college tuition, which now means borrowing for it. It could mean the difference between hiring one extra employee for a small business, further protecting the very richest from competition by the upwardly mobile class.

I honestly believe there are a few Republicans who sincerely want to cut the size and scope of the federal government. Senator Rand Paul tried to convince his party to cut a measly $43 billion (a mere 4%) from Washington’s gargantuan military budget. Senator Paul believes he is trying to hold the Republican Party to its core principles, but I think he needs to look at history here. The party was born in the mid-19th century on a platform of raising taxes, increasing the size and scope of the federal government and, for the first few years, abolishing slavery. It has never really changed, though it adopted the rap of small-government, low-taxes and freedom and prosperity after Goldwater introduced it to them.

It’s time those Republican voters attracted by the GOP’s rhetoric of free markets, smaller government, and more personal liberty face the reality that Harding, Coolidge, Taft, and Rand Paul are the “RINOs.” The Republican Party has always been about big government, authoritarianism, and empire. Those looking to truly “drain the swamp” should consider placing their support elsewhere — and, no, I don’t mean the Democratic Party because they are just as much for big government, just in support of different pet projects.

Posted December 14, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Government

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