Friday, March 16, 2007

Is "fiscal neoconservative" an oxymoron?

Unrestrained neoconservative spending has been addressed in countless forums (fora?):

  • A Buzzflash post in 2004 that compared Clinton with the Bushes, quoted by Michael Hanscom and Scam City.

  • My eventual response, which took the same data and compared Newt Gingrich with other Speakers of the House.

  • A Harry Browne article from that same pre-election period, ridiculing George W. Bush's claims of fiscal conservatism. (As Yogi Berra would say, Browne must have written that article before he died.)

  • A Bruce "McQ" McQuain QandO post from this morning, which again looks at things from the presidential perspective, but extends the analysis all the way back to Lyndon Johnson.

As I have pointed out a couple of times, an analysis of budget deficits can't look at Presidents alone; one has to remember that Congress shares some of the glory, or blame, for budget surpluses or deficits. That having been said, there are some periods (2001 - 2006 being one of them) in which the executive and legislative branches shared a common political outlook, and blame or praise can be clearly assigned. (Incidentally, I don't count 1977 - 1981 as one of those periods; despite the fact that both the presidency and Congress were in Democratic hands, Carter was more of a fiscal conservative than his colleagues on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue.)

So we'll have to see how the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates will issue their message of fiscal responsibility, deficit control, and the like.

I can wait.


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