Huffpost Business
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Hale

Where Were the Teabag Protests 8 Years Ago?

Posted: Updated:

Today there are supposed to be many teabag rallies across the country. They are getting together to protest reckless government spending or the large deficits the Obama administration is racking up implementing their policy. My only question is this: where were these people 8 years ago? More importantly, where were these people 30 years ago?

Under Reagan, the budget was never balanced and debt ballooned. In fact, under Reagan the total debt/GDP ratio increased from a little over 30% to a little over 60%. Yet there were no protests. And the fact the budget was never balanced didn't seem to bother anybody. Of course, you could argue that the current teabaggers weren't around then so this doesn't count.

But when Bush took office the exact same thing happened. According to the Cato Institute, the Republican Party became the "Grand Old Spending Party." Bush was the biggest spender since LBJ. Here is what the Cato Institute wrote:

President Bush has presided over the largest overall increase in inflation-adjusted federal spending since Lyndon B. Johnson. Even after excluding spending on defense and homeland security, Bush is still the biggest-spending president in 30 years. His 2006 budget doesn't cut enough spending to change his place in history, either.

Total government spending grew by 33 percent during Bush's first term. The federal budget as a share of the economy grew from 18.5 percent of GDP on Clinton's last day in office to 20.3 percent by the end of Bush's first term.

The Republican Congress has enthusiastically assisted the budget bloat. Inflation-adjusted spending on the combined budgets of the 101 largest programs they vowed to eliminate in 1995 has grown by 27 percent.

Yet there were no protests. And here is a report from the Bureau of Public Debt of the annual federal debt outstanding at the end of the last 8 federal fiscal years:

09/30/2008    $10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007    $9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006    $8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005    $7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004    $7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003    $6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002    $6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001    $5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000    $5,674,178,209,886.86

To anyone with an ounce of common sense, it's obvious what's going on. Republican/conservative rank and file are protesting because they are out of power and their leadership is terrible. But they aren't protesting spending; they are protesting the Democratic Party's governance. And that is fine. But please, don't tell me it's about spending or debt. If that were the case, you guys should have taken to the streets years ago.