Presidentís Moves, Future Spending
December 10, 2003
WASHINGTON -- President Bush is a "fraud" and a "disaster."
Heís betraying the Reagan Revolution. He has turned the Republican
Party into the "the new welfare state party."
are Republicans talking. And that rage from Republicans who favor
small government and fiscal restraint, both in Washington and
the heartland, could mean trouble for Bushís re-election.
administration has presided over one of the most massive expansions
of the federal government in history," said Phil Heimlich,
a Republican who serves as a Hamilton County, Ohio, commissioner.
He grades Bush a D.
feel betrayed," said Brian Reidl, a federal budget expert
at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
far as this fiscal conservative is concerned, Iím doing everything
I can to expose Bush for the fraud that he is," adds Jim
Urling, a Cincinnati lawyer and chairman of a local group that
fights government spending and taxes.
campaign spokesman Kevin Madden said fiscal conservatives are
important to the president and that the campaign would listen
to them. But, he said, the president was focused on solving problems
-- and one of them was the high cost of prescription drugs for
Mark Souder, a conservative Indiana Republican who voted for the
Medicare bill, said that small-government Republicans have been
stirred up by conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh
and Sean Hannity. But when the election comes, the libertarian
factionís anger will be "almost irrelevant," he said.
they going to vote for Howard Dean?" Souder asked.
not to say that there isnít a restlessness and a concern, but
at the end of the day you would have a tough time convincing conservatives
that George Bush isnít closer to Ronald Reagan than his dad."
people label President Bush a "big government socialist,"
Souder said, "most conservatives go: ĎWhat? Excuse me?í "
are reasons fiscal conservatives say they are angry with Bush:
The federal government added a new prescription drug benefit to
Medicare, the largest expansion of government entitlement programs
in nearly four decades. Bush signed the bill Monday. The government
pegs its initial costs at about $400 billion over the next decade.
But as baby boomers retire, the costs are expected to climb to
$772 billion in the decade following that and will only get higher.
Federal spending has jumped to its highest level, per household,
since World War II, according to the Heritage Foundation. "The
unfortunate truth is that the Bush administration, aided by a
Republican Congress, has increased spending more in three years
than the previous administration did in eight," said Rep.
Ron Paul, R-Texas.
A $128 billion budget surplus when Bush moved into the White House
is now a $375 billion deficit with few people optimistic that
the federal budget will reach balance again.
Bush fought against turning half of a $20 billion Iraqi reconstruction
aid package into loans, lobbying heavily to make sure the Republican
Congress kept all the funding as a taxpayer-funded grant.
Some Republicans are upset over the 2002 No Child Left Behind
Act, which they see as federal meddling in local schools. The
education law requires states to set achievement standards for
worry for the Bush campaign is not that Republicans will vote
for the Democratic nominee next November. Itís that they will
that matter? It matters if we have as close an election as we
had in 2000," said Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation.
"If Bush wins substantially, itís not going to matter."
Mike Pence of Indiana, one of the 25 House Republicans who voted
against the Medicare bill, said some of the Republican base will
be demoralized by the expansion of government under Bush. Why,
he asked, would the GOP base be enthusiastic about traipsing to
the polls if they see the party of Ronald Reagan becoming the
party of entitlements?
Friday, 13 Republican House members sent a letter to House Speaker
Dennis Hastert complaining that the last four years had seen the
biggest expansion of government in 50 years. A final, massive
spending bill for fiscal 2004 -- passed by the House Monday --
would only make matters worse, they said.
we pass another massive appropriations bill, we believe Congress
must make preparations to put our fiscal house in order,"
wrote Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., the letterís author. If Congress
wonít kill the bill, they said, Bush should veto it.
the measure easily passed the House, it faces tough opposition
in the Senate.
Congress nearly evenly divided between the two parties, the backlash
from angry Republicans could even shift control of the Capitol,
some Republicans worry.
was the Republicansí message of less government, lower taxes and
fiscal responsibility that prompted voters in 1994 to give them
control of the House and Senate, said Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
message clearly resonated with Americans -- and still does,"
he said. "If Republicans continue to turn their backs on
that message, we risk the voters turning us out of power."
show that the budget deficit is not one of the top concerns for
most voters, who instead cite Iraq or the economy. Even some of
the fiscally conservative Republicans say they like Bushís leadership
on just about everything else -- the war on terrorism, abortion
and, especially, his tax cuts.
show the deficit and government spending is a low concern for
voters, who are much more worried about the economy, Iraq and
for Republicans who favor small government, polls show that one
concern is paramount: the fear that their children and grandchildren
will end up footing the bill for irresponsible decisions made
by Washington during the last four years.
Heritage Foundation calculates that just to pay for the prescription
drug benefit, households will have to pay an additional $1,125
in taxes per year by 2030.
not happy at all," said Tom Brinkman, a Republican state
representative from Cincinnati.
spending is out of control and somebodyís going to have to pay
for it, and itís my children. And I donít think thatís right,"