As much as he deserves credit for his bold foreign policy, the President deserves criticism for a total lack of restraint in domestic spending, and, as much as they wish, administration apologists cannot lay it off on wartime spending as the culprit. As the Heritage Foundation reports, since 9-11-01, 55% of the total federal spending increase of $296 billion has been in areas totally unrelated to defense and homeland security, discretionary in the sense that lawmakers have control over them. And this is before any impact of the prescription drug benefit bill. Some Republican leaders have responded that this, as the Wall Street Journal calls it, is “the price of governance” as the majority party in order to be responsive to voter concerns and “getting things done”. But overall spending grew by 21% over the past two years, under a government whose legislative and executive branches were both under Republican control for the first time in fifty years, and George W. Bush is the first President since John Quincy Adams not to have vetoed a bill at this point in his term. Is this the party of Reagan and the party of the Gingrich Revolution of 1994 and the Contract with America? Maybe divided government isn’t so bad—let’s hear it for gridlock!
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