George W. Bush: A "Big Government Tax-Cut & Spend Conservative?"

Friday, September 05, 2003 | 07:29 AM

The the era of big government is back, thanks to the Bush Administration.

That’s the conclusion of a Brookings Institute study. The Wall Street Journal reported that the think tank is releasing a study Friday which found that the “number of full-time employees working on government contracts and grants has zoomed by more than one million people since 1999, bringing the overall head count to more than 12.1 million as of this past October.”


The report finds that the growth is happening entirely outside traditional civil-service hiring channels. "The Bush administration is overseeing a vast expansion of the largely hidden federal work force of contractors and grantees," according to Paul Light, the author of the report, who directs the Center for Public Service at Brookings.

Mr. Light's study contends the expansion is both stealthy and permanent. The use of grant and contract employees (rather than civil servants) "reflects a deliberate strategy by both Congress and the president to disguise the true size of government."

A growing number of conservatives dismayed about such growth under the Republicans' watch:

But representatives of two conservative think tanks said the findings dovetail with their own studies of government growth under President Bush. Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, and Daniel Mitchell, a Heritage Foundation economist, argue that government was much better contained under President Clinton, in part because Mr. Clinton faced a skeptical Republican Congress.

"We are now seeing the biggest expansion in government since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House," Mr. Moore said. "It is pretty much an across-the-board mushrooming of government. We have the biggest education, foreign aid and agriculture bills in history, and bigger expansions are on the agenda."

Mr. Mitchell called the growth of government under Mr. Bush "very troubling for conservatives." He calculates that domestic spending is up about one percentage point of gross domestic product. "That is quite discouraging," he said, "particularly since we made so much progress under Clinton in reducing the size of government."

This report leads me to conclude that the adminstration has misled the left, right and center. Discuss.


Fact Sheet on the New True Size of Government (Overview)

Full report (PDF)

Despite Bush's Credo, Government Grows
By Tom Hamburger, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
September 4, 2003,,SB106262519812480700,00.html

The Brookings Institution

Friday, September 05, 2003 | 07:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (2) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference George W. Bush: A "Big Government Tax-Cut & Spend Conservative?":

» The Laughter Never Stops from indarchy: unlimited self-government
After World Cups, politics is the most entertaining thing in the non-interactive media. Outside of it all as I am (In the sense that I don't vote and don't have any fundamental reason to care whether Bush beats Kerry or the other way around. They'... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 20, 2004 8:41:36 PM

» George Bush's (and many others') Road to Serfdom from Unbeknownst to Me
Over at Just Well Mixed, Jason argues that evangelical Christians uncomfortabl... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 16, 2006 12:20:24 PM


Well, Bush has only been in office since 2001, so any trend starting in 1999 isn't all his. And, of course, we're fighting a massive war at the moment, which is rather expensive. I don't disagree that he's contributed to an expansion of the welfare state, but most of the spending is for the GWOT and related nation-building activities. Indeed, the chart you supply shows that quite clearly--it's even more pronounced than I'd have guessed.

And the use of grant and contract employees rather than permanent bureaucrats is a good idea if the increase is to be temporary, no?

Posted by: James Joyner | Dec 30, 2003 10:58:57 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

Recent Posts

December 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      


Complete Archives List



Category Cloud

On the Nightstand

On the Nightstand

 Subscribe in a reader

Get The Big Picture!
Enter your email address:

Read our privacy policy

Essays & Effluvia

The Apprenticed Investor

Apprenticed Investor

About Me

About Me
email me

Favorite Posts

Tools and Feeds

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe to The Big Picture

Powered by FeedBurner

Add to Technorati Favorites


My Wishlist

Worth Perusing

Worth Perusing

mp3s Spinning

MP3s Spinning

My Photo



Odds & Ends

Site by Moxie Design Studios™