Tags: Insider | Report: | Bush | Bigger | Spender | Than | LBJ

Insider Report: Bush Bigger Spender Than LBJ

Saturday, 03 December 2005 12:00 AM

George Bush is the biggest-spending president of the past 40 years, surpassing even Lyndon Johnson and his "Great Society" spending spree, a new report by the Cato Institute reveals.

The increase in discretionary spending – that is, all nonentitlement programs – in Bush's first term was 48.5 percent. That's higher than LBJ's 48.3 percent, and more than twice as large as the increase during Bill Clinton's entire two terms, 21.6 percent.

When spending is adjusted for inflation and length of time in office, Bush has an annualized real growth in spending of 8 percent, compared to Johnson's 4.6 percent. In contrast, Ronald Reagan's real growth was just 1.9 percent.

"In other words, Bush has expanded federal nonentitlement programs in his first term almost twice as fast each year as Lyndon Johnson did during his entire presidency," the Cato Institute's report discloses.

Reagan's discretionary spending rise was mainly a result of increased outlays for defense, but he offset that spending with cuts in other areas. By the end of his two terms, nondefense discretionary spending was actually down 9.5 percent.

But Bush's tenure "has so far been a return to the Johnson and Carter philosophy of budgeting that gives increases to all categories of spending," according to the Cato report.

"George W. Bush is the biggest spending president of the past 40 years in both the defense and domestic discretionary spending categories by a long shot."

Members of the Bush administration say much of the spending growth is due to outlays for the war on terrorism. But Cato found that this expense amounts to only 16 percent of defense spending for the past four fiscal years and therefore "cannot explain most of the Bush budget bloat."

One of America's staunchest bastions of liberalism is taking a decided turn toward a more conservative viewpoint – Harvard Law School.

Bradford Berenson, who entered the school in the late 1980s, said that back then there was only a single professor among the 60 or so full-time faculty members actively propounding conservative jurisprudence and politics.

"It wasn't that uncommon or unusual to hear the word ‘fascist' associated with a mainstream conservative," said Berenson, who served in the White House Counsel's office under President George Bush from 2001 to 2003.

But last year, the law school surprised him by including among its new faculty hires several prominent conservative scholars.

And he gives much of the credit to Elena Kagan, who took over as dean of Harvard Law in 2003.

"In Dean Kagan, Harvard has found somebody who genuinely values intellectual and viewpoint diversity," Berenson told The New York Observer, which carried out an in-depth investigation of the changed atmosphere at Harvard Law.

"[Conservatives have] gone from feeling excluded to included."

Kagan told The Observer: "Our current hiring is all across the board from a political-slash-ideological perspective, and that's exactly what it should be.

"We don't look at politics. We figure that if we really go for the people who are doing the most interesting scholarship and who are the best teachers, we'll get a pretty wide political cross-section – and indeed we have. We're just looking for the best people, the best scholars, the best teachers."

Said professor Charles Fried, the law school's most outspoken conservative: "Once you start hiring a lot of people, you can no longer allow any group or faction to put in a political veto, and you've just got to hire the best people. That's what happened."

The year that Kagan started, the law school officially kicked off a $400 million fund-raising campaign, and made plans to hire 15 new professors to help lower student-faculty ratios.

Recent conservative hires include John Manning, an expert on the separation of powers and the structure of government who advocates a strict reading of the Constitution, and Jack Goldsmith, an international-law expert known for questioning the efficacy of the International Criminal Court.

"Harvard Law School has traditionally been an unfriendly place for conservatives," Matt Cooper, a third-year student and Federalist Society chapter president, told The Observer.

"It's changed. I wouldn't say it's friendly and welcoming, but it's certainly not hostile to the extent that it once was."

During her three years in Congress, Katherine Harris has suffered from frequent turnover in her staff. Now her campaign for the U.S. Senate is facing the same woes.

Harris' campaign manager Jim Dornan announced on November 15 that he was resigning after just a few months on the job, saying he felt Harris should spend more time and energy campaigning.

The Republican from Florida also lost a pollster and a campaign finance director earlier this year.

"Coupled with bad poll numbers and her struggles to raise money, political watchers say the staff turnover adds to the appearance that her operations are in disarray," the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports.

Among her Congressional staff, Harris has had to replace key personnel on an average of every nine months. In just under three years, she has had four chiefs of staff, four district directors and four press secretaries.

Members of Congress on average hold on to their high-level staff for four to five years.

Some former staffers have complained that Harris micromanaged them, and they were irked when she failed to tell her staff about her plans to run for the Senate before she announced it to the media, the Herald Tribune reports.

But Harris said most of her staffers who left have done so because they've gone on to better jobs. She points to Sally Tibbetts, who resigned as Harris' district director after less than a year and went to work for Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) after he was elected last year.

Staff members "always get stolen away," Harris said.

But David E. Johnson, a GOP consultant, said that whatever the reason behind the turnover, "it's a real sign of trouble."

According to Johnson, people will wonder: If she can't manage her own staff, how can she manage the needs of the state?

Katherine Harris hoped that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would give a boost to her stagnant campaign by attending a December fundraiser in Tallahassee – but Jeb has turned down the request.

Harris' fundraising chief Stanley Tate announced recently that Sen. Mel Martinez would hold the fundraiser for Harris on the first day of December's special legislative session.

Tate said he hoped the governor would attend, and cited the event as evidence that Harris' support among Republicans is growing, the Tampa Tribune reports.

However, state law bars state legislators from raising money during a session. While the law doesn't apply to Harris or Bush, nonlegislators often respect it, according to the Tribune.

Tate's solution: The fundraising event would take place before the session was gaveled open.

But Bush told reporters he's not going.

"She has every right to do it," he said, but "I just don't believe it's appropriate" to attend.

Bush downplayed Harris' poor showing in a recent poll, saying the election is still a year away and "she has the potential to be a very viable candidate."

When asked if he will campaign with her, Bush said: "Yeah. Sure. Next question."

Wayne Allyn Root's best-selling book "Millionaire Republican" is coming out as a paperback in September 2006 – just in time for the midterm elections.

The book – previewed earlier by NewsMax – quickly became the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon.com's list of books on personal finance, No. 20 overall and No. 7 on the best-seller list at 800-CEO-READ. It's now in its fifth printing.

Root, a Jewish Republican, has been honored with an invitation to the White House by President and Mrs. Bush for the annual Hannukah Party on December 6.

And he's one of Hollywood's only outspoken Republicans. His new primetime TV series "King of Vegas" debuts on January 17 at 10 p.m. on Spike TV. Root serves as creator, co-executive producer and co-host of the show.

The premise of his book "Millionaire Republican: Why Rich Republicans Get Rich – and How You Can Too!" is that the nation belongs to Republicans, now and in the future, and in order to thrive in such a world, Americans should climb aboard the bandwagon and start the journey toward riches and success.

Root notes that Democrats have been calling the GOP "the party of the rich" for half a century now. He thinks Republicans should take that as a compliment.

Root says, "Democrats are right about at least one thing - the GOP is the party of wealthy, successful, ambitious Americans. Thrivers instead of survivors. Achievers instead of blamers, complainers and suers. Republicans should be proud of that fact.

Political insider Larry J. Sabato has written an "Urgent Memo to the President," and the topic is: How You Can Recover.

"Things are bad, Mr. President. Really bad," begins Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, on his Web site The Crystal Ball.

Here is a condensed version of Sabato's memo to Bush:

Because of September 11, you spent most of the first term in Gallup's stratosphere (the 60s and 70s) and you never lost the half of the population that voted for you twice. Now the delayed tumble has come with a vengeance, and even parts of your base have melted away, leaving you mired in the mid- to upper-30s.

But let's think this through. You've got 38 months still to serve as President – that's four months longer than the entire John F. Kennedy presidency.

The good news is that you've got enough time and ocean left to turn your ship of state around, plus you have the benefit of still-friendly GOP majorities in both houses of Congress for at least another year.

The bad news … is that you need to act relatively quickly so that the big story of the New Year is your comeback and not your political demise.

When people start watching television again after the holidays, you need to dominate January day after day, and not limit your effort to the State of the Union address.

Here's the plan:

The American people have turned against your war, and they're not turning back. Whether you like it or not, you will have to withdraw a substantial portion of our troops before the midterm elections in November 2006 or risk a Democratic takeover of Congress.

The economy's not too cold and not too hot, unemployment and inflation are low, growth is solid despite the hurricanes. Have you noticed that you're getting no credit?

You act as though Americans will notice good times on their own and give you the kudos. Get real. Start a debate with your adversaries about the economy. Unlike Iraq, it's an argument you can win.

Your Social Security reform is dead. Your immigration reform is dead. Your tax proposals are comatose, and the undertaker is on standby. You need to move from policy innovation to consolidation.

Drop the lead weights of proposals that will never see the light of day … and focus your Presidency on the two great tasks for which history could remember you: fighting terrorism and rebuilding the Gulf Coast.

Leading and managing those two great causes can productively fill your days and give your administration the ennobling purpose that has left it.

Parts of your staff are burned out, controversial, and increasingly mired in scandal(s). Every President – just like every Major League team owner – needs to refresh his roster from time to time with new, able people. You are overdue for this.

Admit one big error and correct it.

Let's choose something that even your strongest supporters in Congress deeply regret: the Medicare drug benefit. Do you know how many Republican senators and representatives have said privately that it is the worst, most regrettable vote of their careers?

The drug benefit will add trillions to the national debt over time; because of its complexity, it is overwhelmingly disliked by the very seniors it is designed to help; and like most government programs, it is guaranteed to become massively more unwieldy and costly in the future, as new provisions and baubles are added on.

Eliminate it, or at the very least, cut it way back by limiting it to the poor. Your gigantic, additional Medicare entitlement underlines the Bush Administration's reckless overspending.

All at once, you can please your party, make better policy, and change your image by confessing a big goof. People will be amazed at your display of humility.

The memo concludes: Mr. President, you can recapture many of the Republicans and Independents who have left your side.

Realistically, while you probably will never again see a 60 percent approval rating in the Gallup Poll, you can slowly climb back over 50 percent. It's going to take a lot of hard work and day-to-day incremental progress. But the only alternative to this kind of Purgatory is a three-year-long Hades of deep unpopularity and the inability to lead.

Good luck!

It's not often that one of our readers comes out with a clothing line – to appear in select shops like Bloomingdale's – so we thought we'd share the news.

Novelist Christina Oxenberg (yes, she's a regular NewsMax reader just like you) has come out with a brand new line of women's accessories.

Christina is introducing her new line, called OX, at four Bloomingdale's stores; two in Manhattan and others in Short Hills, N.J., and Beverly Hills.

She expects to have wider distribution in the future.

Items in the OX line include shawls, scarves, gloves, headbands and hats. They are made of Australian merino wool and fibers from the suri alpaca, a small member of the camel family from the Andes Mountains.

The items are all priced at under $100 and come in a variety of colors.

Three years ago, Christina – who says she enjoys the "multitude of informative" NewsMax e-mail alerts – brought out a high-end line of knitwear sold at Barney's and other upscale stores and boutiques. It is called, simply, Christina Oxenberg.

She says the theme of her design collections is "silent luxury."

No word if there are plans for any more novels. Her book "Royal Blue" was published in 1997.

For our Hollywood buffs: Christina is the sister of actress Catherine Oxenberg, best known for her role on TV's "Dynasty" in the 1980s.

NewsMax recently sent out an e-mail offering the CD "John Wayne: America, Why I Love Her," and included praise of the Hollywood icon attributed to actress Maureen O'Sullivan.

The e-mail should have cited Maureen O'Hara, who made five movies with Duke – including "The Quiet Man" – and said that he was her "best friend."

In May 1976, O'Hara appeared before a House subcommittee to successfully petition the government to cast a commemorative medal honoring the legendary actor.

She told the committee that along with her father and her husband Charlie Blair, Wayne was one of "the three greatest men I have ever been privileged to know.

"He is a man that has a code of beliefs that he sticks to. He believes in individual responsibility and honor …

"He believes also in the adherence to the American dream."

THAT Boston Catholics have asked Archbishop Sean O'Malley to disinvite pro-abortion Catholic Mayor Tom Menino as the honoree of an annual Christmas fundraising dinner.

"We request that you avoid further scandal and confusion to the faithful by insisting Catholic Charities disinvite Mayor Menino and find a suitable candidate to honor in his place on December 9," more than 100 prominent Boston Catholics told the Archbishop in a letter.

The letter cites a recent statement by the U.S. Bishops' conference indicating that "Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Archbishop O'Malley has already declined to attend the dinner, but Boston Catholics believe he should go further and remove the mayor as the honoree.

Footnote: Mayor Menino boycotted the Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade because the organizers did not include a militant gay group.

THAT Professor Lawrence F. Roberge, a leader in pro-life research, has been named 2005 Connecticut Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Professor Roberge was the Chair of the Science Department and Associate Professor of Science at Goodwin College from 2003 until this year, and has almost 20 years of experience teaching at the college level.

Roberge is the author of the book "The Cost of Abortion: An Analysis of the Social, Economic, and Demographic Effects of Abortion on the United States."

He has done research on abortion vaccines and warned of the life-threatening effects of the abortion drug RU-486 six years before it became available.

During his tenure at Goodwin, he organized the construction of science labs and developed the science curriculum for the Nursing Program students.

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George Bush is the biggest-spending president of the past 40 years, surpassing even Lyndon Johnson and his "Great Society" spending spree, a new report by the Cato Institute reveals. The increase in discretionary spending - that is, all nonentitlement programs - in Bush's...
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