Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
The graphic above leaves little to the imagination when you look at government spending under Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan (the father of the small government ideal), George Bush I, and George Bush II (the winner of the out-of-control spending award who was helped greatly by his 100% Republican-controlled Congress.)
I offer this history lesson because in the coming weeks we are going to hear a lot of Republican rhetoric about spending cuts and balancing our budgets at the kitchen table. Keep in mind that many of the Republicans who will be spouting this new fiscal conservatism marched in lock-step with President Bush as he destroyed our economy with tax cuts and entitlement programs we couldn’t afford, AND they were involved in the Republican Congressional blockade in December 2010 when they held out for tax cuts for the richest Americans and refused to discuss any other legislation until they secured tax cuts (which we couldn’t afford) for their cronies.
Check out Chris Hayes’ smackdown of the Republicans’ disingenuous fiscal policy decisions on the Rachel Maddow Show: GOP haunted by big spending and corporate favors.
The beginning is devoted to the Republican who will deliver the response to President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. Paul Ryan, Congressman from Wisconsin, is now known as a fiscal conservative and has written the Roadmap for America’s Future which features privatization schemes and a number of draconian cuts– including cuts in Medicare and Social Security but, of course, not military spending. There is a bit of a problem with Ryan wearing the fiscal conservative mantel. You see, during the Bush II era, Ryan was one of the Congressional drunken sailors who spent like there was no tomorrow; he voted for the Republican tax cuts and unfunded expansion of Medicare under Bush II.
At about 7 minutes, Hayes talks about out-of-control spending by Bush and Reagan, and about 10 minutes, he talks with economist James Galbraith.
So, as you listen to state and federal government Republicans in the coming months, take their new-found fiscal responsibility with a grain of salt. We need to be vigilant or we will lose everything that doesn’t help the military-industrial complex.