Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush and Reagan on taxes and spending

A day before tax day, Andrew E. Busch reminds us of something very important: "the income tax bite felt by Americans will be considerably smaller this April 15 than it would otherwise have been. Due to the tax cuts of 2001, 2002, and 2003, tax rates are lower, families receive a larger per child credit, and even adoptions are more affordable.

The tax cuts have been the most "Reaganesque" feature of Bush’s domestic presidency thus far, and are the reason many commentators have declared Bush a worthy heir of Reagan."
Yet, Andy Busch argues that President Bush has thus far missed an important part of Reagan’s equation:

Reagan coupled his tax cuts with a serious effort to trim the size and scope of the federal government. He pushed through billions of dollars in discretionary domestic spending cuts, tried to transfer federal programs to the states, blocked the creation of new entitlement programs, and backed tougher budget rules that brought the deficit down considerably in the last half of the 1980s. By the late 1980s, under the leadership of Reagan and James Miller, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, the federal budget was growing less than 2 percent a year in real terms. Ultimately, under the pressure of the deficits, even entitlement spending slowed.

Andy reminds us that the unwillingness of Bush and the GOP Congress to restrain spending "despite having the power to do so" could be catastrophic for the country (and the GOP). Do read it all.   

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