Bush's spending


Since I've been in the business of defending President Bush against conservatives, I might as well post a link to the conclusions of a non-partisan study of the Democratic candidates' proposed policies and how they compare to the current administration's. This looks as if people voting on this one issue should prefer Bush, despite the rhetoric of some of the Democrats to the contrary. I'm not trying to justify lots of spending, but when you have to pick between two people it's best to pick the one who isn't as bad, even if you're mad at him and want a change to send a message. Sending it by bringing in someone who would be worse is not the way to do it (even if your way of bringing in the Democrat is by not voting or by voting for a third-party candidate).

Incidentally, here's the order of lowest to highest budget increases beyond what it is now, at least among those mentioned:

Joe Lieberman (169.6 billon)
John Edwards (199 billion)
Wesley Clark (220.7 billion)
Howard Dean (222.9 billion)
John Kerry (265.11 billion)
Dick Gephardt (368.8 billion)
Dennis Kucinich (1.06 trillion)
Al Sharpton (1.33 trillion)

They conclude that spending has gone up by 23.7% since Bush took office, but even Lieberman is 15% higher than that, and he's the lowest of the bunch.

Update: Andrew Sullivan has been one of many I had in mind when I wrote this. He's responded to Instapundit's link to this information by pointing out that even with these figures a divided government is better than a monolithic Republican control of both the legislature and the executive. I assume the unstated argument is that a divided government will have a harder time getting any of these agenda [yes, this word is plural] passed. Therefore, a Democrat in the White House with a huge budget still would get less passed if the House and Senate are still controlled by Republicans, and on this issue at least a Democrat would still look better.

I guess I have two things to say to that. One is that it assumes a really tight lead in the Senate and a slightly less tight lead in the House will stay that way or lead to an increase in Republican seats. It's not clear to me that we should assume that, even if it seems likely. Second, it's worth thinking about which policies these candidates are supporting with these huge budget increases. If we're going to be spending lots of money, I'd rather it be on what Bush wants to spend it on, then probably Lieberman and Edwards would be second and third on the list. I don't think we could trust Clark and Dean about what they say they would do, so I can't evaluate them, and I know Kerry's preferences are far from what I would want the money spent on, even if he does seem to be one of the more honorable and presidential-sounding candidates. Kucinich and Sharpton probably shouldn't even have been mentioned in this sentence.

My conclusion: the value of the policies the money would be spent on is inversely proportional to the amount of money that would be spent on them. That gives two reasons to support the Bush end of the spectrum over against anyone lower on the list. A divided government might lower the amount of money spent, but these other factors still get Bush my vote even considering this issue alone, which some conservatives are saying might cost Bush their vote.


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