It’s not just that Republicans fail to reduce the size of government when they are in power. That has been a longtime joke nobody ever took seriously. But now they are massively increasing the very departments, agencies, and programs they planned to cut – by a lot.
The omnibus bill, a $582 million-per-page boondoggle, humiliated the president by significantly increasing spending in many of the areas he promised to cut in his budget proposal. By signing this bill, Trump made himself a lame duck and demonstrated that his annual budget proposals aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
The wide gulf between his budget promises and what he signed is perhaps emblematic of the broader split between what Republicans say and what they do.
Here are some quick examples:
Now, take a look at this chart contrasting how much Trump’s budget requested for various departments and agencies with what he actually signed into law. To be clear, this does not show the percentage increase in fiscal year 2018 spending relative to fiscal year 2017. Those numbers are still large, but not as large as the gulf between Trump’s promise and what he enacted.
Folks, this is not incrementalism, this is sliding backwards fast.
Note that this chart is just for discretionary spending, not mandatory spending, which composes two-thirds of the total federal budget and is not subject to the appropriations process. Overall, spending is increasing roughly 13 percent in just six months, when inflation and the GDP are growing by about 2-2.5 percent.
Transportation, HUD, Energy, and Education grew particularly large, even compared to the current baseline and even more when compared with Trump’s promise to cut those departments. Not only will this bill depress GOP turnout in the fall, it is literally creating more Democrat voters and constituencies with the new government funding for liberal departments and programs. And keep in mind that all of these increases will be stuffed into just six months of the year, which means in many respects that this is a double-powered booster shot to the bureaucratic behemoth.
Last decade, we learned that Republicans would never fight for values-based conservatism and would join with the Left to subvert traditional values. But we were promised that, by golly, they’d fight for fiscal conservatism. Well, this budget bill is turning out to be the Roe v. Wade of fiscal conservatism.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.