I’m already tired of Republican carping about the size of Obama’s budget. I am tired of hearing about how “the Reagan Revolution” is being undone. I am tired about Republican posturing as fiscal conservatives. The truth is that Republicans are and always have been mad spenders of federal money, and not just for defense. Reducing taxes is fiscally conservative only if the budget gap is not filled with debt.

Test your knowledge of modern Republican fiscal conservatism:

1. Excluding defense spending, does Federal spending historically rises faster under Republican or Democratic administrations?

                     A: Republicans, at a rate of 9.4% per year, versus 8.6% per year for Democrats.

2. Among our four most recent ex-presidents — Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton and GW Bush — which one increased federal spending at the fastest annual rate? The slowest?

                     A: The fastest was Reagan @ 7.6% per year. The slowest was Clinton @ 3.3%. GHW Bush was 6.7% and GW Bush was 6.2%.

3. On a percentage basis, who increased defense spending more, Carter or Reagan?

                     A: Carter, with an average annual increase of 10.0%. Reagan’s average increase was 8.8%, although it should be noted that his additional defense spending was on top of Carter’s.

4. Excluding defense spending, how much did Reagan shrink the scope of federal spending?

                     A: Are you kidding? Non-defense spending under Reagan increased an average of 7.1% per year.

5. Federal debt at the end of fiscal year 2007 was $9.007 trillion. This is an increase of $8.749 trillion since 1952. Of that increase what percentage occured during Republican administrations?

                     A: 78%. Federal debt rose by $27.2 billion under Eisenhower; by $272.8 billion under Nixon/Ford; by $1694.6 billion under Reagan; by $1462.3 billion under GHW Bush; and by $3333.5 billion under GW Bush. Note: this does not include the 2008 fiscal year, which added something like another $1 trillion to the federal debt. All Democratic presidents combined, back to Kennedy, added just $1958.2 billion to the federal debt.

6. President Obama proposes to roll back the so-called Bush tax cut. This will raise the maximum federal income tax rate from 35.00% to 39.60%. What would Reagan think of this?

                     A: For the first seven years of Reagan’s presidency, the maximum tax rate was 38.5% or higher. For the first six years, it was 50.0% or higher. Only during his final year in office was the maximum tax rate cut to 28.0%. In fact, for the entire period from 1940 to 2002, the highest federal income tax bracket has been less than 39.6% only for the years 1987 through 1992, and 2001 through the present. From 1940 through 1986, it never was less than 50.0%.

                     The point is, whether the maximum federal income tax rate is 35.0% as it is now, or 39.6% where it was before, both rates are very low by any historical standard. It is utterly specious to claim, as we now hear from Republicans, that allowing the Bush tax cut to expire somehow turns us into a European-style socialist government.

Sources: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213

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