I guess I’m on a balanced budget kick today. What with Howard Dean pointing out that Republican Presidents haven’t balanced a budget in 35 years or so and Grover Norquist & ATR running amok with their anti-tax dogma; now I see this New York Times article on how the Gingrich Revolutionaries failed to make government smaller. The article is entitled Week in Review > Cut Short: The Revolution That Wasn’t” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/13/weekinreview/13stolb.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=b29e34305a6392b0&ex=1266037200&partner=rssuserland”>Cut Short: The Revolution That Wasn’t
If the history of the Republican revolution were being written today, a single overarching question would have to be answered: Whatever happened to the promise of smaller government?
That question was asked again last week, when President Bush unveiled a $2.57 trillion budget for 2006, the largest in the nation’s history. The cuts he called for, in areas like veterans’ medical care, farm subsidies and vocational training, were met in Washington with doubts that they would ever get through the Republican Congress.
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The Cato Institute, a libertarian research institution, says overall federal spending has increased twice as fast under Mr. Bush as under Mr. Clinton. At the same time, the federal deficit is projected to hit a record high of $427 billion this year.
These trends seem likely to continue. The White House estimated last week that the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries, originally projected at $400 billion from 2004 to 2013, would, in fact, be $724 billion from 2006 to 2015. Republicans called for scaling back the benefit, but on Friday, Mr. Bush said no and vowed to veto any changes to the Medicare bill.
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One way to look at it is to consider how much the government spends per household. In the 1990’s, the figure held steady at about $18,000, according to Brian M. Riedl, a budget analyst for the Heritage Foundation. But last year, it exceeded $20,000, adjusted for inflation, the highest amount since World War II. But the government only takes in $17,000 for each household. “So right there,” Mr. Reidl said, “we’re borrowing $3,000 per household.”