George W. Bush: A “Big Government Tax-Cut & Spend Conservative?”

The the era of big government is back, thanks to the Bush Administration.

That’s the conclusion of a Brookings Institute study. The Wall Street Journal reported that the think tank is releasing a study Friday which found that the “number of full-time employees working on government contracts and grants has zoomed by more than one million people since 1999, bringing the overall head count to more than 12.1 million as of this past October.”

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The report finds that the growth is happening entirely outside traditional civil-service hiring channels. “The Bush administration is overseeing a vast expansion of the largely hidden federal work force of contractors and grantees,” according to Paul Light, the author of the report, who directs the Center for Public Service at Brookings.

Mr. Light’s study contends the expansion is both stealthy and permanent. The use of grant and contract employees (rather than civil servants) “reflects a deliberate strategy by both Congress and the president to disguise the true size of government.”

A growing number of conservatives dismayed about such growth under the Republicans’ watch:

But representatives of two conservative think tanks said the findings dovetail with their own studies of government growth under President Bush. Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, and Daniel Mitchell, a Heritage Foundation economist, argue that government was much better contained under President Clinton, in part because Mr. Clinton faced a skeptical Republican Congress.

“We are now seeing the biggest expansion in government since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House,” Mr. Moore said. “It is pretty much an across-the-board mushrooming of government. We have the biggest education, foreign aid and agriculture bills in history, and bigger expansions are on the agenda.”

Mr. Mitchell called the growth of government under Mr. Bush “very troubling for conservatives.” He calculates that domestic spending is up about one percentage point of gross domestic product. “That is quite discouraging,” he said, “particularly since we made so much progress under Clinton in reducing the size of government.”

This report leads me to conclude that the adminstration has misled the left, right and center. Discuss.

URLs:

Fact Sheet on the New True Size of Government (Overview)

Full report (PDF)

Despite Bush’s Credo, Government Grows
By Tom Hamburger, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
September 4, 2003
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB106262519812480700,00.html

The Brookings Institution
http://www.brook.edu/default.htm

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  1. James Joyner commented on Dec 30

    Well, Bush has only been in office since 2001, so any trend starting in 1999 isn’t all his. And, of course, we’re fighting a massive war at the moment, which is rather expensive. I don’t disagree that he’s contributed to an expansion of the welfare state, but most of the spending is for the GWOT and related nation-building activities. Indeed, the chart you supply shows that quite clearly–it’s even more pronounced than I’d have guessed.

    And the use of grant and contract employees rather than permanent bureaucrats is a good idea if the increase is to be temporary, no?

  2. indarchy: unlimited self-government commented on Sep 20

    The Laughter Never Stops

    After World Cups, politics is the most entertaining thing in the non-interactive media. Outside of it all as I am (In the sense that I don’t vote and don’t have any fundamental reason to care whether Bush beats Kerry or the other way around. They’…

  3. jill commented on Nov 17

    isn’t alot of this new spending related to dem reqs that airline security be run by feds instead of private sector? in addition, homeland security, intelligence and nat’l defense in this administration must surely explain the lion’s share; these are areas clinton drastically and most irresponsibly cut at the expense of the nation’s security — Bush had to restore that and actually overcompensate in order to provide this basic function of government effectively for the sake of the nation’s security. hopefully the investments in education spending will pay off in the long run, since a better educated population may provide the best protection against communism, ceteris paribus. Foreign aid spending, however, is way out of control. In the case of north korea, for instance, we should hold out and let the communist system implode rather than continue feeding it! by sending aid there, we take pressure off the regime that may otherwise come from the hungry grass roots masses; by aiding the country, we subsidize their nuclear proliferation efforts against us and enable the regime to stay in power.

  4. astara commented on Dec 26

    Its not a War, its a Regime change, and a costly one. This should have been carefully considered before going into it rashly. There was not an immediate necessity for this action, and the reasons, given, were a lot of propaganda. As Americans fears were hyped up over the 911 incident, which, should have been pushed aside as a bad incident, just as the Oklahoma Bombing. That terrorist exist, has always been a fact, and not a reason to blow countries to pieces killing millions of innocents to get a few guilty.
    The cost financially are high, and people shouldn’t be so ignorant, not to be able to figure out who will pay for it. Not the Government, since Bush just gave them a pay hike, and tax cuts.
    It will be the People, who so were so easily led by deceptive tactics, which if they’d learned from history, they should have known better.
    Karma will come back, on USA, for such tactics. Its a false pride Americans claim right now-and Rome did fall!

    I think those who supported this, disserve to pay for it.
    I use to feel sorry for them, but, after re-election of the Bush, I can’t sympathize. The “Crats” are eliminated, and you have start of the NWO. Just as Rome attempted to conquer the world-yet, Rome did fall. Bad choices bring bad results. Astara

  5. Unbeknownst to Me commented on Jul 16

    George Bush’s (and many others’) Road to Serfdom

    Over at Just Well Mixed, Jason argues that evangelical Christians uncomfortabl…

  6. veryge commented on Jul 15

    wow gold, wow power leveling

  7. 翻译公司 commented on Aug 14

    cost financially are high, and people shouldn’t be so ignorant, not to be able to figure out who will pay for it. Not the Government, since Bush just gave them a pay hike, and tax cuts.
    It will be the People, who so were so easily led by deceptive tactics, which if they’d learned from history, they should have known better.
    Karma will come back, on USA, for such tactics. Its a false pride Americans claim right now

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