"Deficit cracking GOP’s solidarity"

Our local ultra-conservative newspaper actually printed nearly half of this article, which was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday November 27th 2005. I looked up the original article, and found it raises many interesting points. Here are just a few:

Total spending increases under the current President Bush closely rival those of President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat famous for conducting the Vietnam War while simultaneously increasing domestic spending.

Discretionary spending rose 48.5 percent in Bush’s first term, according to an analysis by the libertarian Cato Institute, twice as much as in two terms under President Bill Clinton, when spending rose 21.6 percent. Adjusted for inflation, Bush has increased total spending at an annualized rate of 5.6 percent, compared with 1.5 percent under Clinton.

“It’s only a matter of time before we stop talking about cutting taxes for a very long period of time and talk basically about increasing taxes,” Bartlett predicted. “The end of the era of tax cutting is going to put tremendous strain on the Republican coalition, just as the end of the era of big spending put tremendous strain on the Democratic coalition” in the 1980s. “You’re hearing more and more people on the Republican side talking about major losses in the congressional elections next year and about 2008 being a really, really bad year for Republicans.”

In the two months since Republicans pulled their tax cut bills, the atmosphere has only gotten worse. Republicans lost two important off-year gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Bush’s popularity has hit new lows, with the public now decidedly opposing the Iraq war. Leading GOP candidates, including Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative member of the Senate leadership who faces a tough re-election fight in Pennsylvania, have refused to appear with Bush at campaign events.

Heavy U.S. borrowing with much more on the horizon is stoking concern about a potential financial crisis. Any one of several big economic imbalances — including looming pressures on the federal budget, the zero U.S. savings rate, the historically high trade deficit, a real estate boom that has supported consumer spending — could provoke a sudden financial shift, economists say.

“It’s not unrealistic to think that if we continue to delay — and the Baby Boomers do start to retire as early as 2008 — that sooner or later the lenders to this country may decide it’s not the best place to park all their savings,” said Maya MacGuineas, director of fiscal policy for centrist New American Foundation.

Bartlett warned of a “financial Katrina.”

“It’s just a matter of time before we have some kind of economic event that I think is just going to change the political situation 180 degrees and make deficit reduction the order of the day,” he said. “I don’t know what it will be. I just know that when you’ve got gasoline spilling onto the floor of your house, it doesn’t really matter where the spark comes from.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook