Reducing government? "Left vs Right"


Noticed elsewhere | Bleeding Heart Libertarians

This piece discusses a recent study by the Montreal Economic Institute which found “no systematic relation, for any of the three governments, between the left-wing or right-wing ideologies of the parties in power and the evolution of public spending as a share of GDP.” In fact, in every examined case from various countries, “it is actually left-wing governments that most reduced the relative size of government, and in one of the three cases (the United States), it is a right-wing government that most increased it.”

There was another study awhile back by a libertarian institute which found that Jimmy Carter reduced government more than any other president in history; by a wide margin, actually.


I would bet that the “reductions” attributed to Liberals are due only to military cuts that always precede a mandatory buildup as conditions deteriorate in the world shortly thereafter, never because Liberals eradicate government bureaucracies or even stop creating new ones.

I would also bet that no distinction is made between “Republican” and “Right Wing/Conservative” even though for all practical purposes the GOP is just as big government as the Democrat Party in spite of producing a few impressive individual Conservative thinkers every so often.

I also would bet that the lions share of the “growth” during GOP reigns is off budget growth generated by institutionalized social programs created by former elected majorities and Union contract commitments agreed to by former political majorities.

No post Obamacare President will ever spend less on Obamacare than Obama.
No post Welfare President will ever spend less on Welfare than Johnson.
No post Social Security President will ever spend less on Social Security than FDR.
No post National Park era President will ever spend less on National Parks than Teddy Roosevelt.
No post Nanny State President will ever spend less than Nixon on the E.P.A., Education or OSHA.

Blocking out periods of time to analyze spending does not account for the origins of these budget busting drains, these Presidents all created monsters that fed upon themselves indefinitely after they themselves were long gone.


You don’t reduce government size by making more people dependent on it. Look at all the brand new regulation bills that were passed under Obama, and all of the money given away in the stimulus package, which if accepted will have stipulations of it’s own that force government involvement in new areas, where they weren’t originally.

All you have to do is look at the total debt created under this President alone to come to this conclusion about the lefts ability to increase the size of Government. As one poster mentioned already republicans like having a big defense budget, which is the really what the Government should be doing, because the government has an obligation to protect it’s citizens. So, you can’t really blame them for that since that’s the 1 area where government is supposed to be big in.

Other programs like Medicare and Medicaid have been growing in size under multiple presidents, not because the republicans are trying to grow it, Republicans are actually trying to reform them and make them smaller, which the republicans are trying to do to save and reduce federal spending. However, you see the opposite with the left who just created a disaster massive new entitlement in Obamacare, who have extended who can qualify for Medicaid, and who have increased the amount of people on food stamps. By the way Obamacare dramatically increases the size of the IRS.

This isn’t even up for debate. I’m sorry.


The study only went back to 1968 so it missed the massive jump FDR made. There are 7 GOP terms vs 4 dem terms studied. Clinton’s GDP % looks small because out economy was surging with the internet boom and Obama looks like he has reduced govt because he got to hang all of his stimulus on a budget with GWB’s signature on it but he has come no where near getting back to Bush’s 2008 spending level. Not to mention that just because a party has a president doesnt mean that they control congress who are the ones who really do all the spending.

There was another study awhile back by a libertarian institute which found that Jimmy Carter reduced government more than any other president in history; by a wide margin, actually.

reduced how, because it certainly was financially


I’d say these are more a result of the times than any particular political party: Obama and Carter made massive cutbacks as a consequence of a faltering economy, Reagan and Bush Jr. spent like crazy on the military due to rather obvious reasons, Clinton cut back a military that no longer had a mighty communist behemoth to fight.

I cannot speak for the other countries, I’m less familiar with the political and economic history of Canada.


What are you talking about? Ford’s last budget was 20.7% of GDP, Carter’s 1st budget was 20.7% of GDP and his last budget was 22.2% of GDP


Carter, Klinton, and now 0bama cut the military dramatically and then increased social spending by an even larger amount. They then increased taxes which helps no one but increases government power. Our enemies around the world become embolden against us because they see us as being weak when we have Democrat Presidents. Then, a majority of the people usually realize that we are in danger and they are worse off than they were before the Democrats came to power. They elect a Republican that has to rebuild the military at a much higher cost because the Democrats cut it to the bone.

This is the cycle. The only difference now is that we past a tipping point. We now have less than half the people actually paying taxes and they want all of their free stuff that 0bama and his commies promised them and they expect the people that actually work to pay for it.


One takeaway from the spending habits of the presidents in the study is that Bush really comes away as a terrible president. How could anyone look at the fiscal trajectory of the country and decide that what we need is another huge new spending addition to medicare? At least with Obamacare (a program I’ve never supported), the theory is that it will reduce government spending on medical costs; Bush’s Medicare part D is quite possibly the most reckless fiscal decision in the history of the country, especially when we consider that it came at the same time as two expensive wars and reductions to taxes. Mind boggling stupidity.


He also got the end of the Cold War that Reagan paid for, and he gutted the military.


Clinton’s Presidency was dominated by Republican budgets since 6 of his 8 years were with a GOP Congress and in our system Congress passes everything before a President can sign it, I wonder if this was taken into account under this study or if Presidents were just evaluated as if they were sovereign kings.

Reagan had to accept massive amounts of domestic spending to get His military budgets passed, Clinton had to accept Welfare reform in order to get a budget passed, neither President wanted these compromises.

Only Bush 43 and Obama had majority’s of their Party in Congress for a significant time so these two are probably the only reliable comparison, both fair poorly on the matter of fiscal discipline if analyzed in this way.