Tell Me Again What Republicans Are Good For?


"Cost of Government Day"–the point in the year when you start working for yourself, instead of paying for local, state, and federal taxes, fees, and regulations–was on Friday. According to Americans for Tax Reform, "those costs now account for nearly 53 percent of the nation's income and require the average employee to spend 193 days a year working to meet the costs imposed on them by various levels of government." ATR economist Daniel Clifton notes:

This is an increase of four and a half days from last year. It is now 17 additional days in just the past three years. That is a ten percent increase in the cost of government in three years.

The growth includes increases of more than 12 percent in federal spending and more than 8 percent in federal regulatory costs. Meanwhile, the Cato Institute points out that "the 2002 Federal Register contained an alltime record 75,606 pages, a nearly 9 percent increase over 2001."


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  1. Fydor,

    Your theory is interesting, very interesting. So, since I am a Libertarian, I should vote for Ashcroftian-Statists? Best of both worlds, socially conservative, rabidly hawkish on drug-war and nudity … and spends our money like a drunken sailor on foreign conqests…

    But seriously, I think the grand-plan (talk about conspiracy nut ideas) is to literally bankrupt the treasury and drastically curtail the size and scope of government by fiscal attrition. Sounds fine to me, but I think the slight-of-hand approach will put off most voters when it is exposed to the light of day. Bringing in hoards of spending democrats for decades to come … meanwhile we’ll continue to play globocop and probably and unbelievably further alienate our allies in the process. Oh, and the drug war will continue at pace, or largely unabated with a smattering of moderate local legislation here and there.


  2. We need divided government again. Clinton looks like a fiscal conservative compared to Bush because he didn’t have a compliant Congress. So either the dems need Congress back or we need a dem President. (I really didn’t like saying that).

  3. “well, it ties in with fyodors theory at least”

    Don’t know how serious you are, but no it doesn’t. I’m suggesting (toungue-in-cheekly, of course) that one should vote for the politician who advocates views furthest from one’s own on the ground that he/she will do the opposite once in office to appease critics (a very real phenomenon I think, at least to some degree). This is far different from not complaining or protesting policies one dislikes to politicians already in office. How much affect THAT has…. well, that’s a very interesting question, with probably a zillion answers…..

  4. not resorting to name calling or exaggeration = not complaining or protesting policies

  5. “i was thinking well reasoned arguments on why it would be better for him to cut goverment. but i forgot i was among libertarians. ”

    these have been made in the past. if you want specific well reasoned reports with reliable statistics on how bush is messing up check out cato.

    fyodor i was referring more to the do the reverse of what makes sense part of your theory

  6. I find the idea of “Cost of Government Day” very interesting. But I wonder: At what point in the year do we stop paying for Iraq’s government? At $4 billion a month, that money pit is sucking away just as much of my hard-earned money as any government regulation — and I’m getting a whole lot less bang for my buck.

  7. citation on edwards? does his platform include cutting goverment?

    From 6/17/03 remarks at Georgetown University:
    “The truth is, no matter what either party tells you, the greatest thing holding our economy down isn?t that wealth is taxed too much or that the government spends too little. …American?s small businesses create jobs better than any government program. Our markets allocate capital more efficiently than any bureaucrat.”

    “…the notion among some in my party that we could spend our way out of every problem. It didn?t work, yet some in my party want to bring it back.”

    From his website:
    “In a November 2002 speech at the Fortune Global Forum, Senator Edwards called for a “new ethic of economic responsibility,” and urged both parties in Washington to curtail excessive spending and eliminate tax giveaways to special interests and the wealthy.”

    “Senator Edwards called upon Congress to trim the federal workforce outside national security by 10% over the next decade and shut down federal agencies that have outlived their usefulness, and get rid of pork in the budget and close down special interest loopholes.”

    I’m not an Edwards guy, but I’ve been reading some of his propaganda and in fairness, everything he’s saying seems be in favor of smaller government.

  8. jd,

    Ah, well I wouldn’t necessarily advocate that across the board, but hey, sometimes…… 🙂

  9. won’t matter anyway, Mcgover…I mean Dean is going to win.

  10. Republocrats and Demicans. I can’t tell the difference. They both want a bigger and bigger and bigger federal government.

  11. fyodor: speakign of acting counterintuitively:did you guys know that al sharpton spends in the ballpark of 600$ a WEEK to make his hair look the way it does?

  12. I thought Demicans were midgets from the Dominican Republic.

  13. War! That’s what they’re good for. Say it again. Hunh!

  14. You ramblin’ buttocks-munchers don’t know what side is up! You cry and whine about the “two major parties”, and how it is soooo sad that the American people don’t get to hear your hallowed Libertarian message.

    Well, the American people have heard your message, and have REJECTED IT CONSTANTLY!!! Is that so hard to admit?

    I wish the whole lot of you would contact some rare form of malaria from an unknown source of possible Portugese origin that would wipe out your incoherent babbling for good

    Have a good day

  15. Edwards is for universal health care?

    The problem I have with that is the friggin’ illegal aliens.

    I’ll be damned if I’m paying for them.

    If they can afford flying saucers and abductions, I’m pretty sure they can afford to pay for their own anal probes.

  16. These comparisons between administrations are amazing. How relevant is the Clinton administration’s spending and behavior to the Bush administration’s spending and behavior? Not relevant at all. Each administration had to address the world they operated within.

    With Clinton we got a big government philosophy with a modified tax and spend (more centrist) during a period of unprecedented economic growth and relative stability, toward the end of the Clinton administration it was apparent that all was not well from a economic perspective the economy was going into a recessionary contraction. From the day Bush took office he faced a recession with the resulting stock market collapse, creating a severe loss of tax revenue. Then a major terrorist strike which in turn required a substantial military response. Then an accounting scandal that toppled some of the largest corporations in the country. The only action taken by the Bush administration that was not technically a REACTION was using the U.S. military to enforce the United Nations resolutions from the first Gulf War.

    Do you imagine a liberal administration when faced with the issues that the Bush administration has had to deal with would react better or worse (from a Libertarian perspective)?

  17. Since when did Republicans become the party for smaller gov’t and less social spending? BTW, does anyone know how much Bush and Cheney will be making off the Farm Bill this year?

  18. It has been clear for some time that government has grown faster under President Bush than it did under President Clinton. Unlike Reagan, Bush cannot blame Democrat control of Congress.
    Since Republicans retook control of the Senate, the federal deficit has climbed to more than $400 billion.
    At the same time, domestic surveillance and even the federal prosecution of marijuana use has increased, with almost unanimous support from Republicans in Congress.
    Where are these conservatives that oppose Bush and his big government programs?

  19. Debt, recession and war.

  20. i would prefer massive taxation, depression and terrorist attacks myself

  21. Ratherworried, from a libertarian perspective, a liberal administration will still have a republican controlled congress that loves their pork as much as the dems. Hate to say it, but a lib admin wouldn’t have had the tax cuts and so the deficit spending wouldn’t have increased to what we see today and the budget surplus may have helped following 9/11. However, following the coporate scandals, there would probably be higher gov’t regulations and oversight imposed and the free market would be much further away pipe dream.

  22. It doesn’t include how long it’ll take to pay off the national debt, which is probably, oh about… never.

    Never pay today, what you can pass off to your kids and grandkids is the government’s motto. They can’t vote.

  23. The best part: “It’s for the children.”

    Memo to Alanis: That _is_ ironic.

  24. citation on edwards? does his platform include cutting goverment?

  25. The big whine in this article is about the need to now stop spending money on regulation and programs. Nothing about foreign pursuits. Nothing about the new Homeland Security bureaucracy.

    They borrowed money to give a couple trillion dollars in tax breaks to people that don’t need it and now moan about regulation and programs.

    Max Malini, the great turn-of-the-century magician and master of misdirection, was once asked how he could fool so many people. He replied, “Vell, you don’t do it ven they’re vatching.”

  26. If I’m not mistaken Edwards is promising “Universal Health Care”. Now that’ll realy lower the size of govt, won’t it?

  27. Lefty agrees with Nick: Cutting someone’s taxes is a gift to them. It is welfare. Afterall, it isn’t your money. You work for the governemnt, so tax breaks are like a raise. But remember child, what masta giveth, he taketh awayeth.

  28. Funny thing about politics, those in office often bend over backwards to appease their critics and then blow off the interests of those who actually elected them. So maybe we should vote for those who are furthest from our views??!?

  29. Mike E is wrong, of course. Most people have not heard the libertarian message. Instead, they have heard rantings such as his, or caught wind of some poseur who claims to be libertarian, and they have then supposed that they have heard all they need to know about libertarians. It is this way with so many other topics, after all.

    Every elected Libertarian, and all the more so every RE-elected Libertarian, is proof that the electorate will trust Libertarians with the reins of government when they field credible, qualified candidates. Election of libertarian candidates has happened HUNDREDS of times in the past ten years. Re-election of Libertarians is more common with every election cycle. I predict that this will only accelerate as long as the Libertarian Party is vigorous in its publicization of victorious libertarians who walk the walk about which GOP candidates only talk: holding the line on, or cutting taxes; downsizing government; opposing or repealing repressive laws; standing up to things like unjustified foreign wars, or domestic “wars” on such things as taboo drugs; etc.

    My only fear is that libertarians will finally win major offices just in time for the crap to really hit the fan, for which many will want to blame them. At that time, however, it will be fortunate for the US that people will be in office who are willing to take responsibility, wade into the muck, and try to make things better.

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