An Unwillingness to Fight?

 

shutterstock_279048509One common argument we’ve heard this election cycle is that people are angry at Republicans because of the GOP’s fecklessness and unwillingness to reign in the Obama Administration. But based on this data, that anger may have been misplaced:

A president’s budget proposal tends to be a curious document that acts as part wishful thinking and part a projection of hope into the future. For example, Bush’s last budget proposal showed a federal government that was on track to produce a balanced budget within a few years. Obama’s budget, on the other hand, anticipated a massive spending increase in the first year (due to stimulus spending) followed by pretty typical increases of about 6 percent per year. That “6 percent” is important because in 2009 it was the rate at which federal spending had grown year over year for almost 30 years. So that is the number the Obama team used as their standard for how quickly spending should keep growing. But after Republicans took control of Congress in 2011, despite what you may have heard, they really did put a brake on federal spending. A really good brake. In fact, since 2011, federal spending has increased at only 1.3 percent per year … the slowest rate since the aftermath of World War II.

That looks pretty good to me, and it translates into some serious money:

The projected federal spending number in this chart is the initial spending projection for those years taken from Obama’s budgets. It represents how the Obama team anticipated to spend given a standard 6 percent yearly increase in spending. The orange bar is what the federal government actually spent.

In 2009, Obama promised to cut federal spending by $100 million, which sounds big but is actually hilariously small in terms of federal spending. By contrast, by 2012 (the first fiscal year the majority GOP could even influence), the Republicans had slashed Obama’s budget expectations by $217 billion … more than 2,000 times that amount.

And that was just the beginning.

The difference between Obama’s 2015 spending projection and what was actually spent was an astounding $697 billion dollars. That’s more money than we spent on Medicaid.

Let that sink in.

In five years, the Republicans managed to hold back Obama’s spending increases by more money than if they actually got rid of Medicaid. And so far 2016 looks like it will hold to that trend.

If you took the difference between Obama’s projected spending and the actual spending appropriated by Congress for all five years, it’s a jaw-dropping difference of $2.5 trillion.

That’s some real walking around money in Federal Budget Terms.

There is an extremely long way to go and plenty of reason for frustration, but this is more than a decent start on the spending front. That they managed this with a hostile president is even more remarkable.

Not bad for the party that never fights.

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  1. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Outstanding, but the people you are talking to are generally of the mind set “don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    • #1
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    So we grew the budget slightly below what Obama wanted. Where may I donate to the parade?

    • #2
  3. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:So we grew the budget slightly below what Obama wanted. Where may I donate to the parade?

    You have to start somewhere right?

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I look forward to the post where federal outlays go down, but we will all be dead or executing Austin Murrey’s post apocalypse game plan. Anyone have a kick butt outdoor kitchen where we can rally?

    • #4
  5. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:I look forward to the post where federal outlays go down, but we will all be dead or executing Austin Murrey’s post apocalypse game plan. Anyone have a kick butt outdoor kitchen where we can rally?

    That, a 1000 bottle wine cellar and 24 bottle scotch collection. We can ride out the end of America in style.

    • #5
  6. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:So we grew the budget slightly below what Obama wanted. Where may I donate to the parade?

    You have to start somewhere right?

    A start is when the outlays go down. I don’t think digging the hole with a smaller shovel is a good start.

    If they want to save as much money as we waste on Medicaid eliminate Medicaid funding.

    • #6
  7. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:So we grew the budget slightly below what Obama wanted. Where may I donate to the parade?

    You have to start somewhere right?

    A start is when the outlays go down. I don’t think digging the hole with a smaller shovel is a good start.

    If they want to save as much money as we waste on Medicaid eliminate Medicaid funding.

    Wouldn’t that have accomplished the exact same thing?

    • #7
  8. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Even if they did an absolute bang-up job at reigning in Obama, the very fact that people have to write posts like this to convince fairly well-informed voters of that means they still failed.

    Part of the job of a leader is to communicate effectively with his constituents.  No matter how well you supposedly do, if none of the people you need for reelection think you did a good job, you won’t keep your job very long.

    I also wish the public did a better job of keeping informed, but they don’t (and probably won’t).  And if not even Ricochetti newshounds have any idea you’re doing such a fantastic job, with the general public there’s no chance.

    • #8
  9. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:

    Jamie Lockett:

    BrentB67:So we grew the budget slightly below what Obama wanted. Where may I donate to the parade?

    You have to start somewhere right?

    A start is when the outlays go down. I don’t think digging the hole with a smaller shovel is a good start.

    If they want to save as much money as we waste on Medicaid eliminate Medicaid funding.

    Wouldn’t that have accomplished the exact same thing?

    That would’ve been even better. It would’ve immediately balanced the budget.

    • #9
  10. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Martel:And if not even Ricochetti newshounds have any idea you’re doing such a fantastic job, with the general public there’s no chance.

    Anyone who has any idea of what the GOP Congress has been doing is well aware of the fact that they have done a fantastic job of blocking Obama’s agenda.  Even Obama says so.  The people who are not aware of it are not aware because they don’t want to be aware – it doesn’t support their narrative about how the GOP always rolls over to Democrats.

    • #10
  11. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    The way I see it there are two types of people prone to dismissing these kinds of stories about Republican success:

    On the one hand you have people like Brent for which a long train of abuses and ursupations, pursuing invariably the same Object has reduced them to utter despotism and they seek to throw off such government and provide new safeguards for their future. This is a principled position I can respect even if I think it is misguided, being in favor of incrementalism like I am.

    On the other are those who are enthralled to the Conservative Entertainment Media who get told constantly what failures he Republicans are because that is what brings he ratings. Conservative Media came of age during the Clinton years and had a noticeable downtick under Bush. They quickly learned that their business model depends on keeping their audience mad at someone and now it is the “do nothing” Republicans.

    In my opinion this kind of spending reduction is rather remarkable given the circumstances. Imagine what we could have done with a conservative President.

    • #11
  12. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:The way I see it there are two types of people prone to dismissing these kinds of stories about Republican success:

    On the one hand you have people like Brent for which a long train of abuses and ursupations, pursuing invariably the same Object has reduced them to utter despotism and they seek to throw off such government and provide new safeguards for their future. This is a principled position I can respect even if I think it is misguided, being in favor of incrementalism like I am.

    Aw c’mon man, you are making me tear up.

    On the other are those who are enthralled to the Conservative Entertainment Media who get told constantly what failures he Republicans are because that is what brings he ratings. Conservative Media came of age during the Clinton years and had a noticeable downtick under Bush. They quickly learned that their business model depends on keeping their audience mad at someone and now it is the “do nothing” Republicans.

    In my opinion this kind of spending reduction is rather remarkable given the circumstances. Imagine what we could have done with a conservative President.

    While I somewhat disagree with your summation I definitely respect your interest in the topic, time spent on the due diligence, presentation in the post, and following up engaged on the thread.

    Self professed conservatives could learn a lot from libertarians like you.

    • #12
  13. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Jamie I truly appreciate this post. It would only make sense that a GOP congress would be able to flub up Obama’s plans, but then there are the two previous spending bills, the one from last fall and recently a spending bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee. It seems as though we take two steps forward and three steps back a lot of times and it gets tiresome.

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Larry3435:

    Martel:And if not even Ricochetti newshounds have any idea you’re doing such a fantastic job, with the general public there’s no chance.

    Anyone who has any idea of what the GOP Congress has been doing is well aware of the fact that they have done a fantastic job of blocking Obama’s agenda. Even Obama says so. The people who are not aware of it are not aware because they don’t want to be aware – it doesn’t support their narrative about how the GOP always rolls over to Democrats.

    I disagree.

    The problem IS poor communication from Republican leadership.

    It’s not enough to allow Obama to frame the narrative by whining about what a bunch or unreconstructed obstructionists the Republicans are, and expecting that to be enough to keep the faithful engaged.

    The Republicans needed to start telling people what they are FOR, and WHY they are doing what they’re doing. They needed to get people to buy what they’re selling. And they’ve been terrible at that.

    Paul Ryan talked as if he ‘got’ this when he became Speaker. I haven’t seen much evidence of the positivity he was spouting, and suspect that the emergence of Trump, and subsequently yet more confusion as to exactly what the Republican message/platform actually is at the moment, might have something to do with that.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and what changes, if anything does.

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    How about funding the government piecemeal? Control of Congress. Eliminate any ability for the minority to stop you on budget in the Senate and then fund the government one bill at a time. Force Obama to veto items one at a time. Then it is clear who “shut down” the government, because Obama would have vetoed that part.

    I know, I know, crazy talk. The problem is, the GOP in Congress wants bigger government with less freedom and liberty. They just want to be in control. See Bush years.

    • #15
  16. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Jamie Lockett:The way I see it there are two types of people prone to dismissing these kinds of stories about Republican success:

    On the one hand you have people like Brent for which a long train of abuses and ursupations, pursuing invariably the same Object has reduced them to utter despotism and they seek to throw off such government and provide new safeguards for their future. This is a principled position I can respect even if I think it is misguided, being in favor of incrementalism like I am.

    On the other are those who are enthralled to the Conservative Entertainment Media who get told constantly what failures he Republicans are because that is what brings he ratings. Conservative Media came of age during the Clinton years and had a noticeable downtick under Bush. They quickly learned that their business model depends on keeping their audience mad at someone and now it is the “do nothing” Republicans.

    In my opinion this kind of spending reduction is rather remarkable given the circumstances. Imagine what we could have done with a conservative President.

    There’s another kind that recognizes that an increase of a mere 1.3% isn’t good enough.  We need some decreases, and considering we control the branch of government responsible for spending, it’s about time we get some.

    Even if we’re digging ourselves into a hole with just a tiny teaspoon, we’re still failing to fill the hole back in.

    • #16
  17. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Also, preventing a Democrat victory is not the same as a win for us.  So long as we consider ties to be great triumphs that’s the best we’re going to get.

    • #17
  18. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Martel:

    Jamie Lockett:The way I see it there are two types of people prone to dismissing these kinds of stories about Republican success:

    On the one hand you have people like Brent for which a long train of abuses and ursupations, pursuing invariably the same Object has reduced them to utter despotism and they seek to throw off such government and provide new safeguards for their future. This is a principled position I can respect even if I think it is misguided, being in favor of incrementalism like I am.

    On the other are those who are enthralled to the Conservative Entertainment Media who get told constantly what failures he Republicans are because that is what brings he ratings. Conservative Media came of age during the Clinton years and had a noticeable downtick under Bush. They quickly learned that their business model depends on keeping their audience mad at someone and now it is the “do nothing” Republicans.

    In my opinion this kind of spending reduction is rather remarkable given the circumstances. Imagine what we could have done with a conservative President.

    There’s another kind that recognizes that an increase of a mere 1.3% isn’t good enough. We need some decreases, and considering we control the branch of government responsible for spending, it’s about time we get some.

    Even if we’re digging ourselves into a hole with just a tiny teaspoon, we’re still failing to fill the hole back in.

    If we continue to bash the only party that is actually reducing spending as “accomplishing nothing” do you honestly expect that your desires will ever be fulfilled?

    • #18
  19. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Jamie Lockett: If we continue to bash the only party that is actually reducing spending as “accomplishing nothing” do you honestly expect that your desires will ever be fulfilled?

    Oh – did I miss the bit where spending actually reduced?

    • #19
  20. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    What did they put on Obama’s desk thereby forcing him to veto and Democrats to vote to fail to override his veto?  They didn’t fight.  They postured, passed things in the House that would go nowhere in the Senate, ignored regulatory overreach.  The few cuts came out of Defense.   A veto battle would have provided opportunities to answer Obama’s veto message.  They were clearly afraid of Obama and of the media.  Republicans consistently try to win media support by showing that they are not the rogue, fascist, greedy, racist pigs Democrats portray them to be, thereby giving the Democrats a pass and creating the impression that they are hiding who they are by acting liberal.  They have been a sorry lot.

    • #20
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    genferei:

    Jamie Lockett: If we continue to bash the only party that is actually reducing spending as “accomplishing nothing” do you honestly expect that your desires will ever be fulfilled?

    Oh – did I miss the bit where spending actually reduced?

    They spent more money, just the rate of “more” went up slower. That is “reduced” in D.C. Talk.

    The GOP could not even just freeze spending.

    • #21
  22. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    BrentB67:I look forward to the post where federal outlays go down, but we will all be dead or executing Austin Murrey’s post apocalypse game plan. Anyone have a kick butt outdoor kitchen where we can rally?

    If some of the Ricochetti are following my plan stay the heck away from their outdoor kitchen.

    • #22
  23. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    A few disconnected thoughts:

    1. I’m glad to hear this.  It’s not much, but it’s less bad than I’d feared.
    2. Obama has gotten away with question-begging:  That huge, one-time outlay for TARP and the stimulus became part of the next year’s baseline.
    3. There is no Law of the Conservation of Momentum for the budget.  Aside from inflation (small) and population growth, there is nothing that forces a budget to keep growing at the same rate, year after year.  In physics, momentum is what requires you to use a greater force to stop the motion of a faster-moving, more massive object.  But there is no such thing for the Federal budget (outside the exceptions I mentioned).
    4. …nothing except expectations, that is.  Of course, expectations are powerful things.
    5. And entitlements.  I forgot about entitlements.
    6. Well, it’s a start.
    • #23
  24. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    genferei:

    Jamie Lockett: If we continue to bash the only party that is actually reducing spending as “accomplishing nothing” do you honestly expect that your desires will ever be fulfilled?

    Oh – did I miss the bit where spending actually reduced?

    Yes, actually.

    • #24
  25. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    I Walton: What did they put on Obama’s desk thereby forcing him to veto and Democrats to vote to fail to override his veto?

    This is not the only way to fight.

    • #25
  26. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    I’ll have to disagree, respectfully, with your implication in “imagine what they could do with a Republican President.”  From our experience in the last decade, I’m afraid they’d wind up increasing spending.  I sure wish that weren’t the case, though.

    • #26
  27. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Tim H.:I’ll have to disagree, respectfully, with your implication in “imagine what they could do with a Republican President.” From our experience in the last decade, I’m afraid they’d wind up increasing spending. I sure wish that weren’t the case, though.

    That president existed before the TEA Party and the Freedom Caucus.

    • #27
  28. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    True.  I’m just starting to despair about principles ever holding when we get the Presidency and hold the legislature.

    • #28
  29. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Liberalism succeeds because the right always gives in a little bit.  We are now a decidedly centralized democrat socialist nation because of it.

    The debt is so huge because we keep spending more and more every year.  Trying to say that we didn’t increase spending by as much as before is not the right answer.

    We need to slash spending to about 80% or less of what was spent last year.  and keep that slashing going by getting rid of more and more agencies and social programs.

    • #29
  30. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Jamie Lockett:

    Tim H.:I’ll have to disagree, respectfully, with your implication in “imagine what they could do with a Republican President.” From our experience in the last decade, I’m afraid they’d wind up increasing spending. I sure wish that weren’t the case, though.

    That president existed before the TEA Party and the Freedom Caucus.

    I thought they were the scurge of the Republican Party?

    • #30

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