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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Record over Rhetoric: Republicans Love Big Government and Deficits

Badlands Blue offers a couple of fiscal notes that remind why I switched from Republican to Democrat. For years, I bought the line the GOP feeds us that are the party of fiscal responsibility, while the Dems are just a bunch of drunk college kids burning through Daddy's—Uncle Sam's— money. Mr. Dahle and associates give that myth the one-two punch:
  1. Mr. Dahle handles the national line, pointing out (with a graph! click to embiggen!) that for all their talk about not liking big government, Presidents Reagan and Bushes inflated government with more debt annually than President Clinton. Now sure, they're all pikers on debt accumulation compared to President Obama, but President Obama is also fighting the biggest recession since the 1930s. (Alas, Republicans would probably criticize Obama for deficit spending if World War III broke out.) The point is that this data provides no support to the contention that you can count on Republicans more than Democrats to cut big government and balance the budget.
  2. Badlands Blue finds the same disconnect between GOP talk and performance at the state level. Republicans have controlled South Dakota for most of its existence. We've run a structural deficit for the last eight years. Republicans can't find the courage to raise the taxes necessary to pay for the programs the state needs. The Republican Legislature and Governor will likely paper over that gap in money and moxie with emergency handouts from Uncle Sam. It's the Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader and candidate for governor Scott Heidepriem, who are calling for balancing the budget ourselves. The Rapid City Journal says, "it still seems unusual to hear Democrats urging fiscal restraint while Republicans are running around in circles trying to avoid spending only what the state earns." It sounds unusual only if you listen to Republican rhetoric instead of looking at the record.

Don't let Republicans snow you.They have no claim to fiscal responsibility. If you want a balanced budget, federal or state, the record says you'll do just as well, if not better, voting for Dems.


  1. You're absolutely right about the pathetic record Republicans have for fiscal responsibility.

    Democrats don't even bother trying to be fiscally responsible, and Republicans talk the talk, but most of them hypocritically don't seem to try to walk the walk.

    That's why the American people need to clean house this year...and the next election year. Pretty much all the incumbent Democrats and probably 2/3 of the Republicans need to go.

    People need to stop looking at the (D) or the (R) after someone's names and take a hard look at their record--then elect candidates who have a solid, credible record of fiscal responsibility to replace them. Our republic cannot sustain this kind of reckless spending--especially on things that the Constitution does not authorize.

  2. Bob, step out of the echo chamber. "Democrats don't even bother trying to be fiscally responsible" is exactly the kind of GOP-enabling rhetoric that ignores the firm recordss shown by Badlands Blue's posts. Dems don't just talk about it, they get results. Change your rhetoric to match reality.

    And your line about incumbents: if you really want fiscal responsibility at the state level, you need to reverse that equation and then some: turn out the Republicans, keep the Dems, and watch the budget balance.

  3. Cory:

    Bob doesn't have it quite right; the GOP just doesn't care about the future.

    Our little gaggle of commies were talking about this over microbrews and homegrown just last night: since Republicans equate wealth with success, they care not about the the effects of consumption on the Earth or what is left when they pass to whatever made-up reward they have coming after they die.

    At least Democrats care enough about the land to want to leave a few wetlands that aren't saturated with Atrazine, Malathion, or Uranium salts so future generations can clean it up enough to prevent a few spontaneous miscarriages, cancers, or birth defects.

    Too bad South Dakotans are sending all the water they would need to irrigate melons or tomatoes to the Gulf of Mexico only to pump aquifers dry trying to grow GM fodder for antibiotic-laced fat cattle.

  4. Well, I see how far trying to be nice and find areas of agreement gets me. I thought we had finally found a place where we could agree. But no, you'd rather defend your own party's reckless and unconstitutional spending.

    The vast majority of Democrats have not given a flying rip about fiscal responsibility in decades--and haven't even bothered to pay lip service to that wisdom.

    I'll grant you that Heidepriem is at least smart enough to read the writing on the wall, and appears for the moment to be talking the talk, but his record and that of his party provide his words zero credibility.

    I suppose my little experiment with reaching across the aisle with some kind and agreeable words for an opponent is over. I should have known better, shouldn't?

    Okay, go back to your fantasy world. I see you were only turning over in your sleep, not waking up.

  5. Cory -

    The list only shows presidents, last time I checked it was Congress that dreams up and authorizes spending. Am I wrong? Sure, the President will try to introduce and influence his or her policies, but in the end it comes down to the Congress. Without them nothing happens.

    My point is that we need to look at the big picture and stop limiting blame to the Executive Branch on both sides. Give credit where credit is due, and give the spankings when and where they are due (ALL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT).

    Myself I am tired of the whole system. Government is a cesspool of corruption, filled with nothing more than a giant club of elitists that think we are way to dumb to survive without them.

    They run around feeding their egos by pounding their chests with self indulgent praise; all the while they are filling their pockets with bribes. The ones who suffer are you and I, as they have created systems that benefit only them, for their entire life. Both parties are guilty.

    It is time to purge all of the filth from the process. Serving in Washington has taken a sharp turn from serving the people of our country to serving oneself, and that is what needs to change.

    I believe that if any private industry conducted business like our current system of government, we the consumers would be so disgusted and outraged, that we would put them out of business by not purchasing any product or service that they are in anyway involved in producing.

    The irony is that our current government would probably even put anyone with any authority at all in prison.

    Travis M - Sioux Falls

  6. Travis: ever hear of the veto pen? And what happened when Bush II had a Republican Congress?

    Thing is, I would accept the "blame both parties" line if the conservatives who mouthed it meant it. But they don't. Bob still apologizes for the GOP. You guys just want to dodge blame for conservative hypocrisy and worse performance.

    If you are serious, Travis, tell me you'll vote against both Herseth Sandlin and Thune in November. Vote against whatever incumbents are on your state legislature ballot, regardless of party. Do that (take a cell-phone-camera photo of the ballot in the voting booth), and you've got credibility with me.

  7. Cory –

    I have a heard of the Veto Pen, and in my opinion it doesn’t get used nearly enough. Especially over the past decade! But even with the Veto Pen, Congress’ will can be imposed with an override, and there is nothing the President can do about it.

    I agree with you, Bush II had a Republican Congress and they did a horrible job, they got what they deserved when they lost both Houses of Congress. I was disgusted with the out of control spending the Republicans were responsible for just as I am disgusted with the out of control spending the Democrats are in charge of now.

    In all truth, the system works best when there is a balance of power. Both sides need alternative ideas to keep them in check. That is why Clinton’s presidency was a success, Bush’s presidency was not, and thus far Obama’s has not been successful.

    I am a conservative, but I do realize that both parties have good ideas as well as bad ideas. Yes, I also believe that a message needs to be sent to everyone in Washington, they all need to be replaced. Jefferson was 100% correct when he said “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

    The problem with the system is not a failure of ideas, but a failure of integrity.

  8. And Bob, spare me your stunts. You had no intention of making a nice reach-across-the-aisle point. You're just laying traps and manufacturing quotes for your anti-everything crusade. You take my disagreement with your rhetoric and turn it into a "They're mean! Follow me!" baloney point.

    And as for my party's "reckless and unconstitutional spending" -- we're the ones proposing a real balanced SD budget. We're the ones who last balanced the federal budget. Dems offer solutions; you offer old slogans (and this persistent smokescreen about consitutionality which allows you to avoid talking policy specifics (especially on practical state-level policy—and for the record, I'm not saying the Consitution is a smokescreen; I'm saying Bob's false appeals to it are a smokescreen).

  9. The Republicans and Democrats only pay lip service to fiscal responsibility... why else would he have a 12 TRILLION dollar deficit?

    I'm not going to get into an argument of who's more responsible... this happened on both the Democrats' AND Republicans' watches. And for that they are equally liable.

    Both parties have a lot to answer for. We the public gave them control of our checkbook and they spent with the impunity of a drunken sailors.

    Kick the bastards out.

    Vote Libertarian

    Eat Pie.

  10. I really did! I was enthused, thinking you were finally starting to come around. I should have known better.

    Apparently it was nothing but the same old liberal reversal lie. You weren't so much interested in pointing out the reckless spending by both parties; just trying to prop up your own socialist soldiers by diverting attention to the large number of socialists in the GOP who are too friendly with your ideology.

    Yep, we see how liberals "balance" budgets and things--just like the government health care plan that provides 6 years of benefits based on 10 years of taxes just to bring it in a hair under $1 trillion...and leaves out a bunch of stuff that they plan to stick in there later on after the main bill is a done-deal.

    Yeah, that approach is really fooling lots of people. (Wink, wink)

    If you really care about balacing budgets and returning spending to sane levels, join me in pushing to oust every Democrat and most of the Republicans this year. Think of the fiscal progress we could make, working together from the Left and the Right!

  11. one-two punch? It may be a myth that republicans have showed themselves to be the party of balanced budgets, but who in their right minds thought that anyway? However, I'd like to see that chart overlaid with the lines for legislative control, federal revenue, federal spending, and markers for catastrophic events and spending on new programs. Looking at the entirety of the issue should also make it obvious that liberals have not been responsible for the direction of the chart, just lucky during the Clinton term. These simple charts for simple people who believe one side must be good if the other is bad. Even worse was the manipulation of the meaning of the chart. I have no idea why Badlands Blue stops his little chart without showing Obama....none at all. Or why it only started with Reagan instead of LBJ. Cory at least recognizes the current massive deficit spike, he just justifies it (and I'm sure none of the lawmakers spending in the last 30 years justified their spending) Cory also doesn't recognize the economic problems of the past when he justifies Obama spending. This time it's a really big recession so deficits don't matter? By the same logic little recessions justify little deficits and catastrophic events justify monetary devaluation.

    I don't care all that much about new examples of republican hypocrisy - they will get their due at election time. I care more about banishing the illusions that republicans tell themselves: cutting taxes does not create a free pass for continued spending. If you are serious, tell me what you are willing to cut (and not that idiocy about waste and fraud)
    Democrats need to stop telling themselves that the government creates jobs while constantly attacking the ability of the rich who actually do it. FDR was a failure they need to stop wanting to replicate.

    Larry: envoronmentalism - the new opiate of the masses, now with Atrazine!

  12. Fiscal conservatives are getting teary eyed for the Clintons.

  13. Matt, bring it on! But you better get the astroturf Tea Party to stop fronting for the Republicans. Get Ron Paul to leave the GOP and be serious about the Libertarians. Provide a serious alternative and third-party challenge.

  14. To be honest, Cory... I won't have to do all that much work... Most people are so pissed off at the ineffectiveness of both "Major" parties, they're ready for a strong third party. We'll just sit by while the Democrats and Republicans slit their own throats.


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