Friday, October 16, 2009

The Bush spending legacy

I just stumbled upon an article that was written in February of 2008 and it posits an intriguing (although obvious) idea. Take a look:

If you could go back in time to President George W. Bush's inaugural address and add one economic statement, what would it be? For me, there is an obvious answer.

If Bush had promised in January 2001 that the baseline of government spending that he inherited when he took office would be the cap during his term, then we would have a big budget surplus today. It would have been easy to do. He just had to say: "I will not spend one penny more than President Bill Clinton planned to. I will veto any bill that tries to.''

I have written before in this space that Bush has outspent Clinton by a mile. With government spending still out of control, the gap between where we are and where a disciplined nation could have been is getting bigger and bigger.

With a recession looming, the policy implications of the spending explosion are serious. If a deep recession occurs, we will have less wiggle room.

And, of course, the recession did not merely loom, it crashed in, it invaded, it took over, it practically decimated us.

The writer, Kevin Hassett (a conservative by the way), then runs an "alternative history" by imagining what would have happened if President Bush had restrained himself on government spending. You might like to go read the whole piece. It's short.

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