The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, May 15, 2004
The real reason for the Bush budget bonanza?
There is an iconic (in Britain) TV play from the 1960s called Spend, Spend, Spend about a family that wins a hefty sum on the football pools, and live to rue their good fortune. It somehow popped into my mind in contemplating the fiscal laxity of the Dear Leader.
Bush, notoriously, has let deficits rip: every bill is a No Lobbyist Left Behind bill.
Casually reading a piece from 2000 by EJ Dionne Why Americans Hate Politics: A Reprise - referencing his book of that name - I note this passage:
When Clinton assumed office, the budget deficit was a central and debilitating fact of public life...With the deficit eliminated, it is possible again to have that most fundamental of political arguments: whether the government should do more or cut taxes.
Could Bush's profligacy be more than an eager capitulation to special interests? By wasting carloads of dead presidents on - to pick a topic at random - the WPA for Big Pharma that is the Medicare Act, Bush is actually a partisan of old-style Republican small government.
Classic Ben Tre logic: as Mr Micawber didn't say, Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure a couple of trillion: result - ideological nirvana.
(Next week: the essential sanity of Tulipmania...)
Skimming the rest of the piece, one can't help feeling Dionne was suffering from a touch of the Fukuyama's (End of History and all that). Culture wars supposedly over, Big v Small Government over, a Clinton third way the centre of political gravity...
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