Federal spending insults families and small businesses

For America’s families and small businesses, 2009 was a year to forget – if only they could — and 2010 looms gray and foreboding.  But for the federal government, happy days are here again.  Actually, they never left – Washington is printing and spending greenbacks, and offering huge salaries to its workers, as if there were not a cloud on the fiscal horizon.  In fact, Congress and the president just teamed up to pass another obscenely bloated spending measure. 

 Shortly before Christmas, the Congress took a break from its on-going effort to destroy the best health care system in the world, just long enough to send President Barack Obama an omnibus spending bill to keep dozens of government agencies running into 2010.  Yet, unlike the average American family, and most small businesses in the country being forced to curtail purchases and hiring because personal and business incomes have dropped, the government increased spending; not by one or two percentage points, but by a whopping 12 percent. 

Even though former President George W. Bush unashamedly sought and signed significant spending increases during his two terms, it has been nearly three decades – going back to the transition from President Carter to President Reagan in 1980-1981 – since the federal government increased spending by 12 percent. 

Some may throw their hands in the air and conclude that since the government already is operating with a national debt exceeding $12 trillion, adding another $1.1 trillion is not that big of a deal.  However, responsible adults who actually understand economics shudder at what our leaders are doing to us.  For example, the bipartisan Peterson-Pew Commission, a group of former members of Congress and budget experts, issued a stark warning that the red ink engulfing the federal government has truly reached the “danger zone.”  Even our largest foreign creditor – China – is squirming at the continued deficit spending by the US.

On the other hand, special interest groups like the Congressional Black Caucus, not only see nothing wrong with rolling up ever-increasing deficits, but clamor for more spending.  Members of this Caucus defend such a fiscally irresponsible position because of the need to ensure that those it purports to represent are not “left behind.”  (Better the entire nation be “left behind” than a perceived interest group.)

Other groups and congressional constituents are not so pious in elbowing their way to the front of the federal “pork” disbursement line.  As in previous years, the bill just passed by the Congress – which does not reflect either total federal spending or total pork barrel spending – is right up there in terms of pork blue ribbons.  Lurking in federal spending bills passed thus far, are some 7,577 “earmarks” valued at $6 billion. 

Pork barrel spending is only one troubling aspect of Washington’s profligate ways.  The ranks of highly-paid federal workers continue to expand, even as America’s civilian labor force contracts.  Some 383,000 federal workers earn six-figure salaries; with 22,000 of those earning more than $170,000.  Non-salary benefits for federal workers add another $41,000 to the average annual federal compensation package, according to the CATO Institute. 

While I and many observers rightly criticized George W. Bush for his spendthrift ways, compared to the current occupant of the White House, he was a skinflint.  In his first year in office, Bush spent $1.8 trillion, which — large as it is — pales in comparison to the $3.5 trillion Obama has spent in his freshman year.

 Americans ought to be outraged at the continuing fiscal disconnect between the real world and that inside the Washington Beltway.  Unfortunately, the one-two punch of congressional appropriators and White House wastrels, has knocked the wind out of many of those who might otherwise be counted on to oppose such wasteful measures as the recent spending bill.

60 comments Add your comment

mike

January 4th, 2010
6:36 am

the sky is falling. the sky is falling. a pork barrel hit barr on the head and knocked out what little sense that usually rolled around in there.

shaggy

January 4th, 2010
6:46 am

mike – Are you serious? Is a nursery rhyme the best you have in your attempt to make a point? Sadly, nitwits like you breed.

Azazel

January 4th, 2010
7:08 am

The decades long funding of our empire of fear has been costly. Indeed we are disconnected from the real world: no real wage increases since the 1980′, decaying infrasturcture, poor education, no national health service, no directives towards clean renewable energy and no real public transportation (only to name a few).

Perhaps this new decade will be called “The Post American” — Clavinism is dead.

Azazel

January 4th, 2010
7:25 am

That’s Calvinism. Sorry. The notion that, richness and prosperity are indicators of god’s love; and, being poor (and black and brown) is god’s disdain for you.

deathportal

January 4th, 2010
7:28 am

The sky IS falling, mike.

And Perhaps we’d have better education and infrastructure if private companies and citizens did something about it instead of everyone grovelling on their knees waiting for our elected “Kings” to shell out money for us. I don’t want national healthcare run by the same group of people that can’t run anything else within a budget or a timely fashion. Remember, many of the people who will enact “national healthcare” (someday, perhaps soon)are the same idiots who thought Iraq had weapons of Mass Destruction, and that Ben Bernanke was doing a good job, creating his trillions of dollars to avoid “economic collapse.”

It’s time we learn personal responsibility and demand it from our government. It’s time we learn to help others in need out of our own charity instead of looking the other way while the government extracts our money and pays beauraucrats to do it for us. For all the spending they do, there are still thousands upon thousands of poor people; probably no less than there would be if the government had done nothing and “We the People” helped the poor ourselves.

Azazel

January 4th, 2010
7:40 am

But “We the People” establishes that the people ARE the government. Indeed, it is time to take responsibility for the government we have — elected officials are SERVANTS NOT KINGS — but who do they serve, those who profit from empire, or you?

Bitter EX Democrackkk

January 4th, 2010
7:49 am

We the People, the citizens, must continue to DEMAND that Congress AUDIT the Federal Reserve with the goal of shutting it down. We MUST TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY and the TIME is NOW!

STRIVE to be SMARTER than the 2 EVIL controlling forces (democrats/republicans) WANT you to BE! THEY ARE BOTH EVIL ENTITIES who have STOLEN OUR GOVERNMENT!

Mutts R Stupid

January 4th, 2010
7:57 am

If you own I bonds, you should note that the interest rate paid by the feds on these variable interest rate instruments is now ZERO. Since you have to hold them for five years prior to cashing without penalty, the interest rate should be closer to the 5 year treasury, ~4%. Instead, the fed lends at a half percent to the banks, who buy the five year bills, and pocket the 3.5% profit. If you currently hold I bonds, or any savings bond at all, sell it now to send a message to the Washington Scum that they cannot keep spending at your expense. My wife has 30K in these bonds, with about 7K in accumulated interest that we will be selling this week. I will never again buy US Treasury debt of any kind. they are thieves, imho.

mad as hell

January 4th, 2010
8:05 am

We need to change The Constitution to force the Fed Gov to balance the budget every 3 out of 5 years. Pay go worked under Clinton (the last time we had a balanced budget). Before that it was Jimmy C. who balanced the budget last. Democrats both!!!!!!!!!

Republicans dropped paygo so fast when Bush jr. won it was funny. Was good when the other side was forced lived by it but not them. LOL what hypocrites.

They set the standard and now want to complain when the other side does the same thing. I think ALL members of congress’s pay should be tied to the national deficit. They can’t balance the budget they don’t get paid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doc

January 4th, 2010
8:14 am

Barr – do you really not have a clue?

Bush (and the Republicans) MAJORLY screwed up this country. Now Obama (and the Democrats) have to try and dig us out. That includes spending.

When the government spends, the money goes to help those who need it – those who got screwed over by Bush.

Are you really that stupid or just citing the “Republicans are Gods and Democrats are Devils” crap that you folks spit out?

Road Scholar

January 4th, 2010
8:24 am

‘ …to destroy the best health care system in the world”

Oh! Really Bob?! And what country were you alluding to? We’re 37th in the world!

Fed salaries had gotten out of hand, but state salaries are lower than the private sector, with and without benefits. The overall market has taken a hit and will adjust under what you call conservative spending, if we can keep the politicians (both parties)friends from getting Gov jobs. I’m in favor of a pay as you go. So where is the war tax?

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:24 am

the first thing most people need to understand is there is no difference in the parties.
They are both corrupt. They both lie. They both want our money to give away or pocket.
Wake up and stop singing party lines.
Azel..we have poor education because it is government run, we have poor public trans. because it is govt. run. National heath means I pay your doctor bills and lose the insurance I pay for.
How much did you pay in federal income taxes last year?

Chris Broe

January 4th, 2010
8:25 am

Is Barr suggesting that with Obama, we have the first back-to-back deficit administrations in our history? Somebody get Blank on the phone. Somebody order a love song from Silvio. (Beat-up Italian Premier)

Look, you Keystone Keynesian, there has never been, and there nebah vill be, a correlation between debt and growth. The country has nebah gone broke.

NEBAH!!!

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:26 am

Doc, you win so far as the stupidest person on the blog

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:30 am

Hey road,next time you get sick , go to one of the first 36.

neoCarlinist

January 4th, 2010
8:30 am

Everything I needed to know I learned from watching Casablanca; “I am shocked – shocked, to find out gambling (pork, waste) here (DC).” This isn’t even news. And isn’t it ironic that “executive compensation” is rearing its ugly head in gub-ment? I hmmmmm; I wonder how many of the 383,000 federal employeers earning $100,000 or more are employed in the Executive and Legislative “divisions” of USA, Inc.? The lunatics are running the asylum and the foxes are guarding the hen house. As I said, this isn’t news; it’s business as usual (American History 101).

A True Patriot

January 4th, 2010
8:33 am

DOC – I really can’t and don’t want to understand your idiotic logic…..exactly who are you talking about when you say…..”those who got screwed over by Bush”? You know, in the good old USA, if you want to better yourself, you work to achieve those things…..you don’t depend on our out of control federal bureaucracy. That is the problem we have now….we have too many people doing exactly that, people who have been on the dole most of their lives, who wouldn’t work if you offered them a paying job doing nothing. We need to get out of the welfare business, except for those people who are truly disabled and unable to work. People, wake up…..Merle Haggard said it best…..”Are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for Hell? Yes, we are Merle….socialism, here we come if we don’t get our spending under control. We’re gonna be more bankrupt than we are already.

Azazel

January 4th, 2010
8:39 am

Respectfully Rick,
Education is poor here because it is underfunded = little or no value, and that the educational rigor of the 1960’s has been displaced by teachers unions and faith based non-sense; public transportation here is poor because it is underfunded, look at the AMTRAK budgets over the last several decades = little or no value; no national health service = corporate control of who gets access to care and the quality of care, those countries that do have national health service have longer life span (by 3 to five years) and lower infant mortality.

I do not support total government control, but WE the government should get a return on our tax dollar investments that benefits all of US: good health, good and globally competitive education, safe, solid and well maintained infrastructures and most of all a clear path to renewable and mostly free energy ( cap and trade is not the way)

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:39 am

Patriot…they LIKE the idea that 48% of U.S. residents pay NO federal income taxes.

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:45 am

azaazel,

Please explain why I should pay to educate your child. Please explain why I should pay for you to ride the bus or train. When you say these programs are underfunded that means you think the govt. should take more of working peoples money. WRONG!
I control the type and quality of my health care based on how much I spend in insurance(yeah, I know The gubment should pay that too.)
I can talk about health ins, I have been on the heart trans plant waiting list for a while.

Rick

January 4th, 2010
8:48 am

don’t even try to tell me how great other countries health systems are. My wife is a nurse.
You would not believe the number of people who come to the US to get medical treatment that is unavailable in their home country.

Azazel

January 4th, 2010
8:57 am

Rick,
Why should I pay for others’ children to attend school, while my property taxes are high due to the school tax? Because it is in my benefit for them to be educated and: not in jail, not on welfare lines, and especially as an investment in our future.

Why should I pay for you to ride the bus? So you have a means to travel without having to maintain the expense of an auto, so that large numbers of people can be tranported at lower emmisions and fuel costs.

Why would I pay for someone’s health? So that they do not become sick and remain productive and self reliant because this benefits us all.

My best wishes to you, and good luck on your new heart.

Paul K.

January 4th, 2010
9:21 am

mike: Please tell me how Obama’s “hope” has put people back to work, ended two wars and prevented terrorist plots to attack the U.S. It takes a hell of a lot more than a slogan to run a country. Obama hasn’t figured that out yet.

Road Scholar

January 4th, 2010
9:26 am

Rick I would but the rectal exam going through security at the airport was enough! These people coming from abroad to get treatment: Is it available in their country?

We need to improve OUR system is the point. Do you agree or is it just fine and dandy?

sam

January 4th, 2010
9:54 am

unfortunatley, we’ve got to spend our way out of this recession while paying for two wars (that are actually included in the budget), bailouts, etc…these are not normal times. i highly doubt it would be like this if we werent in the middle of this mess and i think you are smart enough to know that bob. emphasis on think.

Mutts R Stupid

January 4th, 2010
9:57 am

I gotta agree with Rick on most everything he has said.

Chris Broe

January 4th, 2010
10:05 am

Nobody doesn’t like our healthcare system. What we don’t like is not having ACCESS to it.

High deductibles. $1K aspirins. $2K enemas, (okay THOSE are worth it. Bad example.) Worse, we gotta pay through the nose AND turn our heads and cough when we get a physical? The reluctance of medical staff to perform that one proceedure alone is why there is a shortage of nurses.

No, our Docs are tops! Our nurses are tops! We love our MRI’s and our CATS and our PETS and our shared-syringes.

It’s the Insurance that blows chunks. Aw, I don’t wanna talk about it.

leeh1

January 4th, 2010
10:09 am

The neocons really screwed the economy during the Bush years, firing government regulators and inspectors, so that business could “regulate itself” into massive bonus payments, stock fraud and accounting tricks.

Already under the Democrats, the economy is finally coming back (this infuriates the Republicans, so they won’t admit it), and is recovering faster than the Republicans first ran it aground.

Obama’s plan accounts for paying for the new health bill, as well as paying off the war debt. Bush paid for the without raising taxes by putting it on the national Visa credit card- the main reason for our huge national debt. So, Obama has to pay for the heavy lifting for both his new plan, and Bush’s idiotic mistakes and enormous payoffs to huge, no-bid government contractors for over 8 years.

The war in Iraq didn’t start under Obama’s watch, but America’s involvement in that war is ending. Finally, we will have the resources and ability to go after the beloved family member of Bush’s close friends and business buddies, the bin Ladin clan.

The huge drain on the American economy caused by the useless (but profitable!) war in Iraq will finally stop next year.

We will see the end of tax breaks for businesses who send jobs overseas in order to sell imported goods to the jobless in America.

Fix-It

January 4th, 2010
10:26 am

Doc,
Are you stupid? You can’t spend your way out of debt, if you are so dumb you believe that please feel free to try it. Boy the Obozo people really stand out…

A True Patriot

January 4th, 2010
10:26 am

leeh1

January 4th, 2010
10:09 am

leeh1……I’d like some of those rose colored glasses.

JC

January 4th, 2010
10:27 am

Someone somewhere decided the U.S. should stop manufacturing and become a “service economy.” Thorughout the eighties and nineties huge numbers of factories, mills, industrial centers, etc. began wholesale closings. People who had decent, productive jobs were thrown onto unemployment and their jobs were sent overseas, and told to re-train as service workers. Nurses aides, IT, phone answering, credit card processing, help lines, retail sales, etc. It seems totally crazy to me that we have in effect destroyed our ability to produce anything of value, and shipped out millions of jobs to other countries. We have almost reached the point where we cannot even afford the goods made in other countries, because our own economy has collapsed. There is no productivity in a service economy. Nothing of value is created. All we do is shuffle papers, type on keyboards, talk on phones, stare into monitors, and wonder why this country is becoming a third world outpost. We could be producing transformational technology such as solar water heaters, solar panels and film, meglevs, high speed rail, LED’s, etc.etc. instead of shuffling papers. We could be going back into space in a big way. The human race needs new frontiers. We never were more technilogically innovative than during the space race. Instead we sit in front of computer screens at work and television screens at home like brain dead zombies seeing what our friends are up to on Facebook and watching football. We are doomed if we don’t wake up from our stupor.

James

January 4th, 2010
10:32 am

Although I agree with the premise that Federal spending insults American families, the comparison in spending between the current adminsitration compared with the last during their first years is so mislieading the author discredits his position. The current adminsistration must pay for multiple wars and a financial crisis. Yes, lets agree that spending is out of control, but lets also agree that we the people fuel that spending and request and require it of our govt. I’m not one of them, but most of you’all out there who exepct expect and expect more of your govt while demanding lower taxes are hypocrites.

TnGelding

January 4th, 2010
10:36 am

What Bush spent his first year is meaningless. It’s what he spent his last that matters (3.107 trillion budgeted, actual spending much more due to TARP and wars). The deficit would have been over a trillion dollars if he had remained in office. The FY 2009 budget was his, not Obama’s. Obama’s FY 2010 budget calls for spending $3.591 trillion and includes the costs of the wars.

Certainly federal workers are overpaid when you consider their benefits, altho they don’t think that. My sister claims she took a pay cut both times she started work there. But she and her husband are drawing big fat government pensions now along with health care benefits. Not to say they didn’t earn it.

We simply have to end the wars, freeze the spending and increase taxes modestly on all of us, especially those of us that were dropped from the tax rolls so the wealthy could get huge tax reductions. Cutting spending would accelerate things, but you wouldn’t want to do that too fast while recovering from a recession.

James

January 4th, 2010
10:40 am

TN Gelding… Yes, lets do all that except raise taxes… Why not CUT SERVICES and let me keep my money.

jconservative

January 4th, 2010
10:40 am

But, but, but Bob! We had a Tax Cut! And isn’t that the formula we all agreed to when we elected Reagan in 1980? Cut taxes, increase spending
and America will prosper! It worked so well that we re-elected Reagan, he carried 49 of 50 states. And since then, except for Tax Increases under Bush 41 & Clinton, we have continued the same formula of tax cuts and increased spending. (Well actually Reagan increased corporate taxes & social security taxes, but we do not count that.)

Now we have been doing this Tax Cut/Increased Spending policy for 29 years. Are you seriously proposing that we change?

What do you propose we do first? Raise taxes? Cut spending? There are problems with these solutions. First, raise taxes on whom? Well, it will have to be on someone who does not have a strong lobby in Congress, right? Anyone come to mind? Second, cut spending? Where?
Well, it will have to be on someone who does not have a strong lobby in Congress, right? Anyone come to mind?

Nice, timely column Bob.

Trudy

January 4th, 2010
10:57 am

The Federal spending is HELPING FAMILIES! The facts prove it. Shut up and let us fix it.

TnGelding

January 4th, 2010
11:00 am

James

January 4th, 2010
10:40 am

We need to over time, but I don’t see it happening the way Congress works. It will never give up the power voluntarily. We have to improve our education system so we can end the poverty cycle and prepare more of our young people to compete in the global job force and stop depending on highly skilled immigrant labor. It would be nice if corporate America would show a little patriotism and return to training qualified workers to perform the high tech jobs available today. Also military tech schools could be used to train civilians as well, and if we ended the all-volunteer army that would provide a huge supply of experienced, competent workers annually like it used to. That’s where I got my training and experience.

Unbelieveably, I recently watched a Senate hearing where some members said letting in more workers was the way to grow our economy.

TnGelding

January 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Trudy

January 4th, 2010
10:57 am

True, but it is only temporary. We have to stop being stupid and manage our own affairs better. Why would anyone pay $300k for a house they could build for $100k? Why would anyone leave their outdoor floodlights on 24/7 when they can’t pay their electric bill? Why would anyone eat out when they can’t afford to leave a tip? Why would anyone eat so much they make themselves sick and immobile? Why would anyone take food out of their children’s mouths by smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs?

Think A U S T E R I T Y ! when it comes to the federal government. It’s coming.

tracher

January 4th, 2010
11:16 am

Mr. Barr, are you serious? Time to give up the writing you senile old man. Bush a spendthrift? You are comparing apples and oranges. Remember what Bush walked into (after Clinton’s 0 deficit) and there is no comparison as to what he left for Obama. Best healthcare in the world? How is it your write for a newspaper? You are just wrong wrong wrong and so 1980’s. Get with it, old man.

Jess

January 4th, 2010
11:17 am

We have a president who’s only experience was community activism. What do these people do. Do they organize a community to do good works? No. They dream up projects which taxpayers will finance. Obama is still dreaming up projects which taxpayers will finance. He has surrounded himself with academics, and public servants who have also spent their careers at the public trough, and basically they have no idea of how to approach a problem other than throw money at it.

Unfortunaley, with almost half the population spared the inconvenience of paying income tax, he has a built in voter base who just don’t care how much of my money Obama spends.

Mutts R Stupid

January 4th, 2010
11:21 am

I am no expert on financial history and empires, but I recall an observation by someone that near the end of empire, the country turns to financial activities over real activities. I have reserved a copy of Niall Ferguson’s books on financial history, one is a history of the house of Rothchild, the other is a history of finance in the Western World. It will take a while to read them, but I think it will be worth the effort. Professor Ferguson works at Harvard University, but we shouldn’t hold that against him.

tracher

January 4th, 2010
11:46 am

oh and rick is such a racist jerky pig. yes, i’m pulling that out. take a good look in the mirror barr, rick, jess and the many others i’m forgetting. you’re all racist republicans and your party is dying. thank god, it’s about time. you’re two steps away from being the american al queda.

tracher

January 4th, 2010
11:51 am

you know what insults my family? all the stupid GOPers who are so stupid and racist that they can’t see straight and see what their votes and party have done to this country since that dirtbag nixon was president. reagan took us over the edge and bush and cheney started putting the final nails on this coffin of a country. all of our politicians are in it for themselves but i’m sick of the self-righteous americans who think this county is great because of the GOP.

janet

January 4th, 2010
12:26 pm

Bob, you lost me at “we have the best healthcare system in the world”. But it is only available to those who can afford it which means it is a good restricted access healthcare system”. Just like a country club that offers wonderful meals, a pool, golf, masseuse to their members so too with American health care. I have a choice to not join a country club but I don’t have a choice with my healthcare. Right now it is either pay up at the prices the insurance company and hospitals etc charge or have nothing and die or go bankrupt trying to get care.
By the way, Bob , what do you pay for healthcare these days?

jimmy62

January 4th, 2010
12:36 pm

We do have the best health care system in the world, if you base it on stats that matter. Life expectancy doesn’t matter, because that also includes deaths that have nothing to do with health care, like murder, for instance. And we have a lot of fat people, which is not the fault of the healthcare system, but of a society that tells us to do what we want because the government will take care of us. Infant mortality rates also don’t matter, because we count our differentlly than other countries. Here if a baby is born 2 months premature and dies, we count it as an infant death. other countries don’t. We make heroic efforts to save infants that other countries don’t even include in their statistics.

Fact: Most medical innovation comes from the U.S.
Fact: Most new life-saving drugs come from the U.S.

MrLiberty

January 4th, 2010
12:42 pm

It insulted families all through the Bush administration too. Much like democrats and Obama, republicans were unwilling to stick by principles and criticize Bush. Once the precident for that kind of executive excess and power grab is tollerated, it will be wielded ever more forcefully by the next executive – but then real libertarians have been warning both sides of the aisle about that since the days of Hoover and FDR.

mpercy

January 4th, 2010
1:05 pm

RE: Doc January 4th, 2010 8:14 am “Bush (and the Republicans) MAJORLY screwed up this country.”

On blog after blog, I read about “8 years of Bush” or “8 years of Republican control”. As if Pres. Bush and the Republican party in Congress had total control over the country. These statements often reflect either ignorance or complete denial of the facts.

First, we know that Pres. Bush did not have Congressional support in the final two years of his 2nd term, as the 110th Congress was controlled by Democrats (233-202 in the House, and 49-49-2 in the Senate with Leiberman and Sanders as “independents” who mostly joined Democrats when they voted). Any bill which passed the 110th Congress had to have Democratic support, and especially had to have the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Indeed, they passed two bills that Pres. Bush vetoed and who’s vetoes were subsequently overridden. (Water Resources Development Act of 2007 and Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (the 2007 Farm Bill)).

But even when Republicans held majorities in Congress under Bush, as they did in the 107th-109th Congresses, the majorities were slim, and especially slim in the Senate (often an even split). Thus whenever a bill was approved in the Senate, it had to be done with support of something close to 20% of the Democrats in the Senate (assuming 100% Republican support, which was not at all guaranteed). In light of this, anything that passed the Congress did so with something of a bipartisan effort, since Democrats could block the Senate on any issue simply by withholding cloture votes as a bloc (or something remotely like a bloc). Instead we saw one of the most “Bushy” bills, the PATRIOT Act, passed 99-1 in the Senate and 357-66 in the House. On the other hand, another big Bush bill, the Medicare Modernization Act, passed 220-215 with 16 Democrats voting Yea in the House (and 25 Republicans voting Nay) and 54-44 in the Senate, with 11 Democrats supporting it and 9 Republicans opposed (i.e., nearly ¼ of the Democrats in the Senate voted for the bill). In perhaps the most telling vote, the Iraq war was started with strong Democratic support, according to Wikipedia: “Introduced in Congress on October 2, 2002 in conjunction with the Administration’s proposals, H.J.Res. 114 passed the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. EDT on October 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133, and passed the Senate after midnight early Friday morning at 12:50 a.m. EDT on October 11, 2002 by a vote of 77-23. It was signed into law as Pub.L. 107-243 by President Bush on October 16, 2002.” Eighty-two Democrats (40%) supported the action in the House and 29 Democrats (50%) in the Senate also supported the action. In fact, the Democrats+Jeffords(I-VT) as a bloc had a 51-49 majority in the Senate, yet they still passed the bill. Even the Bush tax cuts of 2003 could have been held up, but 2 Yeas from Democrats in the Senate counterbalanced 3 Nays by Republicans, leaving the final vote in Dick Cheney’s hands breaking the 50-50 tie.

It has been widely reported than Democrats in Congress (esp. Barney Frank) blocked attempts by the Bush administration to reform and regulate the mortgage industry in the part of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Even though in the minority party, they could block items in committees and by withholding cloture, because the Senate was so evenly split.

In the end, nearly everything in the Bush years, other than executive orders and other policy matters (e.g. rules set by Cabinet Secs.) was done with some measure of Democratic support. In particular, since only Congress controls the purse strings, all the money spent under Bush was spent with Democratic votes in support. Had Democrats held their party line, the “Bush years” would have come out differently.

Jefferson

January 4th, 2010
1:12 pm

When everyone is on equal footing, its going to be tough on those who had it all handed to them and don’t know how to be poor.

Chris Broe

January 4th, 2010
2:02 pm

Federal Spending is the kind of insult that leads to pistol duels like what happened when John Wilkes Booth shot Aaron Burr, man.

3rd Party Guy

January 4th, 2010
2:28 pm

Jefferson, unless you are in the top 5% of wealthholders, you are already poor. Most people don’t realize how much debt has been created for them in order to “grow” the economy. Notice that the since the ’70s, the top 5% own more of everything than ever before. They get the wealth, we get the debt. The government is just tool to be used to redistribute the wealth created by honest business people and middle class workers. I believe it’s called corporate socialism. While the two extremes argue; and defend their corrupt and evil “parties”, the nation becomes weaker. Don’t kid yourself anyone, we have one, nor more than two generations left. Then we are finished! Yay SERFDOM!