NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Prolifigate Spending by Republicans

December 9, 2003

By approving extravagant expansions of social programs and running up huge deficits to finance them, Republicans risk leaving future generations a bloated government that will require bigger debt payments and higher taxes to sustain, says USA Today.

Already, some Republican champions of limited government are complaining about the party's fiscal profligacy, while others say big government is the price the party has to pay to stay in power.

Examples of the new GOP tactics:

  • Runaway spending: In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the federal government spent $20,300 per household, the highest level in inflation-adjusted dollars since World War II.
  • Protectionism: Some conservative Republicans in Congress are pushing "buy American" measures to protect U.S. defense contractors from foreign rivals; the moves hurt the overall economy by raising prices for U.S. buyers and inviting foreign retaliation against American exports.
  • Subsidies: In 2002, Congress approved a farm bill for a record $180 billion over 10 years; also, an energy bill written by GOP leaders this fall would give energy companies $20 billion in tax breaks over 10 years.

Republicans say much of the government's recent expansion has been driven by the need to combat terrorism and ensure public safety. Beyond that, they say the party is responding to the desire of most voters for more government services. Yet Democrats showed more restraint in 1993 and 1994, when they last controlled both the White House and Congress, by making painful reductions in the deficit.

Unless the Republican Party returns to its core principles, the smiles of GOP leaders may be replaced with frowns when tomorrow's voters receive the bills for today's spending spree, says USA Today.

Source: Editorial, "Medicare drug plan signals return of big government," USA Today, December 9, 2003.

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