That's One Way to Put It

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Since Nick Gillespie wrote about federal spending under Bush surpassing LBJ's record, I've seen the GWB/LBJ meme picked up in a number of cases. But I'll confess, I'm especially fond of the way the headline of this Cato budget briefing sums it up. And yes, I am five years old.

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  1. interesting pdf. thanks, Julian
    (resisted urge to write “Julian, why do you hate five year olds?”)

  2. I’d love to know whether that was intentional.

  3. I suppose it might have been had the title read “Bush Engulfs Johnson.” Yoikes.

    So I suppose then that this Cato article was much like Frosted Mini-Wheats: insightful commentary for my adult side, but the kid in me likes the juvenile headline!

  4. Actually, Jeremy Lott beat Gillespie to the punch with this piece on AFFBrainwash in September 2004: http://www.affbrainwash.com/archives/014615.php.

    And at least LBJ didn’t call himself a Republican. 😉

  5. Evan Williams,
    I doubt the Cato headline was intentional, and thus, the difference between Cato and Reason.

    The headline should help it get dissemated among Congressional staffers, eh?

  6. Bush can always chuckle how they like to do things big in Texas… you know, where he comes from.

  7. and thus, the difference between Cato and Reason.

    Oh, puhleeze.

  8. HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE…YOU SAID…HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE…THAT WUZ COOL.

  9. Settle down, Beavis.

  10. almost a dozen comments now, and nobody’s rationalized away Clinton and Carter tying for second behind Ronnie in lowest growth in domestic spending?

    Is the server broke again?

    Most interesting to me was the greater drop in defense spending under W’s daddy than under Clinton. After all, it’s been a matter of faith among cornerites who infest this site that Clinton’s good budgetary performance was due to his ill-advised defense cuts.

  11. The best way to deal with a cornerite infestation is to put on pointy boots so you can squash them in the corner.

  12. Clinton’s lower spending was also a function of the Congress. In that brief heyday of fiscal responsibilty, Congresscritters introducing additional spending had to include sources of revenue to pay for it.

    This had the effect of pay as you go, as opposed to this administration’s no-child’s-future-income-left-behind.

  13. The headline should help it get dissemated among Congressional staffers, eh?

    I think the word is disseminated. That matters at the five year old level.

  14. Just after I read this I followed a link to a presentation by Dick Hardt…

    http://identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/

    (I think this is more like 8 year old behavior)

  15. After all, it’s been a matter of faith among cornerites who infest this site that Clinton’s good budgetary performance was due to his ill-advised defense cuts.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that particular rationale trotted out here at H & R.

    M1EK – a veritable non-partisan encyclopedia of ill-founded innuendo!

    no-child’s-future-income-left-behind

    I’m using that one, Manual!

  16. I find George Bush to be at best an average Democrat and am second to no man in my admiration of the Cato Institute, but this list needs to take a few things into consideration; to wit:

    Annual spending needs to normalized for population growth (i.e. per capita);
    CPI and other methods for measuring inflation are extremely suspect;
    The nature of non-discretionary spending has changed dramatically in 40 years;
    Last time I checked it is the Legislature that writes the spending bills.

    It would be refreshing if Bush could locate his veto pen, and it is nauseating given that the party of smaller government has controlled the executive and legislative branches for most of Bush’s administration, but it is not all his fault.

  17. Most interesting to me was the greater drop in defense spending under W’s daddy than under Clinton. After all, it’s been a matter of faith among cornerites who infest this site that Clinton’s good budgetary performance was due to his ill-advised defense cuts.

    Way to argue against the voices in your head, M1EK! That’ll larn ’em good!

    Personally, I’m not sure that at the time I thought the defense budget cuts were a good idea (though I very well may have; I can’t quite remember). And I still disagree with some of the choices made by Clinton and his advisors with regards to the military. But the military needed its budget cut, and still does.

  18. “After all, it’s been a matter of faith among cornerites who infest this site that Clinton’s good budgetary performance was due to his ill-advised defense cuts.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that particular rationale trotted out here at H & R.”

    Well, it has to be either that or the performance of the Republican legislature, since the science of refusing to give Clinton credit for anything was invented by you guys.

    What’s that, you say? Clinton had years where the Dems controlled at least one house of Congress? Clinton had a veto pen and wasn’t afraid to use it?

    Shoo, inconvenient facts! Shoo!

  19. M1EK, you are just kicking the everliving shit out of that strawman!

  20. M1EK, you are just kicking the everliving shit out of that strawman!

  21. I’ve seen that particular method of pooh-pooing Clinton’s budgets at NRO, so it’s not as if M1EK’s making it up. I don’t know if I’ve seen it here or not.

    “In that brief heyday of fiscal responsibilty, Congresscritters introducing additional spending had to include sources of revenue to pay for it.” George Herbert Walker Bush should get credit here, too, since it was the budget deal that he cut with Congress – the one that caused Republicans who think “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter” to abandon him – that put these rules into effect.

    Swill, good cautions all, but regardless of how you measure inflation, it has been particularly low during Bush’s tenure to date. Population growth hasn’t made any dramatic changes, either.

  22. Joe, I may be mistaken as I was really only skimming M1EK’s posts, but he seems to be levelling that accusation at HnR members.

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see that kind of stuff posted at NRO. Quite frankly, I have to wonder why you’d go slumming at such a place. You’re better than that.

  23. mediageek,

    In general, most of the memes present at NRO make their way here, spewed by a certain small subset of posters (including, but not limited to, RC Dean).

    And reading NRO is useful – that’s where the talking points first get dispersed to the blogosphere, as far as I can tell.

  24. Second on RC Dean parrotting National Review.

  25. Actually, Steve Chapman — the best columnist in America — was even earlier with the GWB/LBJ comparison.

    In July 2003 he wrote, “Our military is bogged down in a guerrilla war overseas, the federal government is spending way beyond its means, and a president from Texas has opened up a credibility gap. Is this 2003 or 1967? When we elected George W. Bush, we thought he was the son of George H.W. Bush. But he behaves like the proud progeny of Lyndon Baines Johnson.”

  26. Clinton, unlike the current dems was 1) charismatic 2) brilliant 3) an amazing politician.

    (he out-smoothed the repubs. probably one reason why they were so bitter. plus his wife (damn her for being in public office – she’d be the best friggin CEO or Corp Legal Officer at any of the largest companies in the world) is smarter and more political than they were, too)

    damn him for unzipping his fly on our dime (on his own time, go for it, dude). (but that was hardly worth the witch hunt)

    he was strong enough to survive the 1994 “revolution” (you know, many of them are now “BIGGER GOVERNMENT” conservatives).

    i do fault clinton for his poor work in iraq (true he inherited a bad situation and mismanaged it probaly equally as badly).

    i remain against the preemptive military actions in yugoslavia (clinton) and iraq (bush II). I feel his judgement in taking the reigns in somalia from bush1 was bad continuation of a bad idea (just as reno took the ruby ridge attitude, which was bad too).

    he seemed to do well in keeping the plo and the north koreans at their respective tables. two snaps for that.

    it is very funny to see that this constellation: strong personality dem in white house and repub congress did better for spending than the opposite in the 80s? as joe pointed out, the clinton years look good from the spending POV. and libertarians should take note of that constellation. Fyodor and thoreau do this frequently.

    but then again, while i did like the “morning in america” speech and the general optimistic message, i thought reagan was long on excellent rhetoric and short on smaller government promises. and the iceland handshake was a beautiful moment.

    NRO is for conservatives, not libertarians. you’d have to be conservative to stand that “small government when it suits my needs” and “might makes right” pov. and goldberg is to puke on.

    RC does make lots of good points and he is open to discussion. and he doesn’t preemptively attack people with blanket snark bombs.

    and even the consensus of the macro-types i’m around who are pro bush II conservatives don’t buy the “deficits don’t matter” line. mankiw tries as he may, but there are potential downsides to deficits.

    how about this: clinton gave us ideal starting metrics, and one of the many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many disappointments of Dubyah is that he reversed the trend in spades.

    howz dat grab yah?

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