The two major parties in the United States are always quibbling over the budget and federal spending, with the Republicans usually claiming they want to decrease the size of government, and therefore decrease spending. However, Republicans are known for their leaning toward military spending as well as subsidies and corporate welfare, while Democrats are known for their leaning toward spending on various social programs. I fully intended to begin this article by locating exactly what levels of spending have occurred in the past to demonstrate what happened during periods when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, as well as periods where Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. However, that information turns out to be far more difficult to come by than it should.
The best information I could find on historical federal spending by Republican or Democrat controlled Houses and Senates is the Republican controlled House and Senate from 1995 to 2007, and the Democrat controlled House and Senate from 2007 to 2011. It’s hardly a fair comparison since we have such a long period for Republicans and a relative small one for Democrats. However, during these two periods, Republicans had an average annual increase in federal spending of 6.7%, while Democrats had an average annual increase in federal spending of 8%. While not the best of comparisons, it does show that there is not a great amount of difference between the two. If anyone reading this article has more extensive historical numbers, please feel free to email me and let me know.
There is much being made of how Republicans will now control the presidency, the House, and the Senate, all at once.
Republicans feel they will be able to accomplish much in terms of reducing the size of government. However, history doesn’t really bear out their efforts. The common foolery in Washington, D.C. is that politicians typically claim a decrease in spending as one of a decrease in the expected increase. In other words, if the expected increase in spending is 8% and instead that increase is shaved down to 6.7%, that is not a 1.3% decrease in spending as would normally be portrayed by politicians. It is simply a decrease in the expected increase, and does little to slow the growth of government.
Unfortunately, it isn’t popular to cut spending in any program. However, at some point there has to be a recognition of what these increases in spending represent. Across the board in all government programs, when spending is increased, it represents a growth in government and enables government to do more than what it has in the past. As government has the resources to do more, we citizens are able to control less in our lives. With each passing year, we submit further encroachment on our liberties. Yet, all of us, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, and independent, complain of further restriction on freedom in some manner or form. Reducing government spending isn’t going to give us all our freedom back, but it is a start in the right direction, and at least a stemming of the tide.
I am hopeful that for the first time, Republicans are not simply paying lip service to reducing the size and scope of government, as well as its spending. Perhaps after many decades of promising to do so, they will finally do as they say, and hopefully, it will be a reduction across the board in everything.
For now, all we can do as wait and see if they want to hold to their word or if it will simply be increases in spending as usual. It would seem that all American political parties hold at least some freedoms dear and complain as government encroaches upon them. In order for these freedoms to come into reality, everyone has to sacrifice a little of their favorite government programs.
I’m not holding my breath, but I am willing to remain hopeful.
(Featured image: AP Photo/Politico.com)
This post was written by Danny Chabino.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.