Sunday, October 03, 2010

Getting out of the ditch

As the US economic engine continues to sputter and groan, President Obama has sought to defend his record by pleading that the country was driven into a ditch by his predecessor, and that getting out won't happen overnight. Democrats plead that patience is needed to undo the many horrors visited upon this country by the previous administration. 

In the spirit of finding common ground I hereby offer a number of Bush-era policies that Democrats should propose reversing in order to get America moving again:
  • In 2001 President Bush expanded federal intrusion into public schools through his Leave No Child Behind legislation. Repeal it.  
  • In 2002 a Republican Congress passed and Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley bill which imposed vast new regulatory burdens on publicly traded firms. End it. 
  • In 2002 Congress passed a bloated farm bill which dispensed billions in subsidies for US farmers and agriculture corporations. Put them on the chopping block.   
  • In 2003 a Republican Congress passed and Bush increased the federal role in health care through the Medicare drug prescription benefit. Scrap it.  
  • On the regulation front Bush -- whose tenure is described as an era of deregulation in Democratic mythology -- saw the number of pages in the Federal Registry expand by almost 14,000 on his watch, real outlays on regulatory activities increase by 62 percent and the number of regulatory staff expand by 91,196 employees (it fell under Clinton). All the gory details here. Let's return to the status quo on all of these items.
  • While Bush was in office federal discretionary spending grew by 27.7 percent in his first term and 29 percent in his second. This compares to negative growth in Clinton's first term and 8.9 percent growth in its second (source here). Let's pare back this spending to where it would have been if the pattern set by the previous Democratic president had been followed.
Any takers?

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