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Craig
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:19 pm    Post subject: Is George Bush a conservative? Reply with quote

With the exception of a hawkish foreign policy George Bush has proven to be a real disappointment to me. This is why...

1. He tried to appoint a liberal to the supreme court and only relented when real conservatives voiced their outrage.

2. He has increased government spending at a rate unseen in recent American history...

Quote:
According to Chris Edwards at the Cato Institute, over the first three years of Bush budgeting, non-defense discretionary outlays will rise 18% a number that far exceeds the spending increases during the first three years of the last six administrations. And it pales in comparison to the Ronald Reagan budgets. President Reagan restored America's military during his two terms, boosting defense outlays by 19.2% in the first term and 10.4% in the second. But Reagan also reduced non-defense outlays, cutting domestic spending by 13.5% in the first term and 3.2% in the second. That is real budget discipline.

President Bush is also spending more than Bill Clinton. Clinton actually reduced non-defense outlays in his first term, albeit by only 0.7%. And, for all his flaws, he still signed market-oriented reforms such as NAFTA, farm deregulation, telecommunications deregulation, and financial-services deregulation.

The overall numbers show spending is growing too fast. But the details of the president's budget are even more discouraging. Only the Justice and the Labor Departments 2 of 21 major department agencies will see their budgets reduced. Taxpayers also are being burdened with new programs, including the $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and $450 million to bring mentors to disadvantaged students and to the children of prisoners. Are these really legitimate functions of the federal government? What happened to the Constitution?
- source

So Reagan decreased non-military spending by 16.7% while Bush has increased it by 18%!!! So on social issues he has made questionable judgements and on fiscal issues he fairs worse than Clinton.
CC Scott





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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apart from Reagan, the Republicans that have resided in the White House in the past haven't been very conservative at all. So I'm not too surprised that non-military spending under Bush Jr. has increased rather than decreased.
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is that these are idealized positions that have no relation to what drives most policy. Business leaders are generally more interested in net transfers from government rather than spending levels. They want taxes to go down, sure, but that is balanced out with hopes for higher subsidies for research, training, etc. Most of the profit from large corporations is, of course, the direct or indirect result of government policy. Agribusiness, energy, transportation, telecommunications... even retail... These industries are set up the way they are today largely as a result of public planning of various forms. The more political side of this strategy I've tried to think through here.

Reagan, of course, was one of the most radical interventionists in history. He massively expanded the state sector, ran large deficits to finance tax cuts, introduced or sustained high protections against many foreign competitors, decided to stop enforcing many laws related to labour and the environment, and supplied arms and direct support to reactionary forces all over the world. Any support for him from conservatives is completely because they submissively accept the words of leaders at their face value, as long as that leader is perceived to be a force against the Left.
REWJR





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So Reagan decreased non-military spending by 16.7% while Bush has increased it by 18%!!! So on social issues he has made questionable judgements and on fiscal issues he fairs worse than Clinton.


Well Reagan decreased spending because he reigned in the federal budget and fought for the line item veto but his massive military spending the Soviets into the ground and causing there " Evil empire" to crumble . Add to this his tax relief and the deficit ballooned. I still belive in his supply side (non - kensian) economics .

"He won two presidential elections commandingly, and over the course of several decades inspired a devoted following that now wants to etch his name and image on currency, public buildings and monuments across the land. He won by displaying an optimism about his ideology that most right-leaning politicians before him had lacked; voters, even when they didn't particularly like his ideas, liked Reagan himself, because he convinced them he believed in these ideas and in a noble vision of America. "

excerpt from THE NATION Reagan Legacy .



Quote:
What followed is unarguable: creation of more than 22 million new jobs; the nation's lowest unemployment rate in 30 years; the lowest unemployment rate among women in 40 years; and the lowest Hispanic and African-American unemployment rate in history. The nation went from the largest budget deficits in history to the largest budget surpluses in history, while the average family's income went up more than $5,000.


excerpt from CNN - Mark Sheilds article

Clinton inherited a good economy and did not have a war to fight ...

As for GW

"Last year, our economy grew at 3.5 percent, and in the first quarter of this year, it grew at an annual rate of 5.6 percent. Over the past three years, our economy has grown by more than $1.3 trillion, an amount that is larger than the size of the entire Canadian or South Korean economy. "

"When the economy grows, businesses grow, people earn more money, profits are higher, and they pay additional taxes on the new income. In 2005, tax revenues grew by $274 billion, or 14.5 percent; it's the largest increase in 24 years. (Applause.) Based on tax collections to date, the Treasury projects that tax revenues for this year will grow by $246 billion, or an 11 percent increase. The increase in tax revenues is much better than we had projected, and it's helping us cut the budget deficit. "

"And that's what's happening today. Thanks to economic growth and the rise in tax revenues, this year the deficit will shrink to 2.3 percent of GDP. That's about the same as the average over the past 40 years.

Here are some hard numbers: Our originial projection for this year's budget deficit was $423 billion. That was a projection. That's what we thought was going to happen. That's what we sent up to the Congress, here's what we think. Today's report from OMB tells us that this year's deficit will actually come in at about $296 billion."

excerpts from MID SEASON Review .


I'd say with the spending on the war on terror he is doing a pretty good job on managing the economy and deficit IMHO.
Craig
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
Most of the profit from large corporations is, of course, the direct or indirect result of government policy.


I hope you aren't suggesting that without government, business would be unable to turn a profit.

I'll take a stab at a couple of industries...

Drugs - government intervention and regulation harms their profitability (I'm not saying it is a bad thing but in terms of profit...). Most of the profit earned by drug companies is made in the USA where drug prices aren't regulated by the government. They sell elsewhere only because the cost of actually production is less than the regulated price they can elsewhere. In this sector the government is costing drug companies. Now you could argue that patent laws earn them big bucks but the dynamic of the industry would be completely different without them. Generic manufacturerers would be making the big profits.

Automobiles - environmental regulations and import taxes (not to mention income and sales taxes) reduce the profitability of car companies. Again, you could argue that without government built roads they wouldn't sell a car. But I would counter that plenty of roads would exist without the government. Government doesn't create money - it steals it. And that money would build roads if the government wasn't acting as the middleman.

Software - Google, Microsoft, Sun, Apple are all making great profits. It is true that government actions impact these companies but to suggest that government can take credit for the profits is a stretch.
Mac





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to objectively judge Dubya's performance because he's had a couple of major domestic incidents which affected his presidency.... Sept 11th, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina... not to mention what else is going on in the world. IMHO, is Dubya a conservative? Fiscally, no. Socially, yes.

-Mac
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I hope you aren't suggesting that without government, business would be unable to turn a profit.
This is, of course, a massive topic that can not be adequately covered in a forum. But at the end of the day, yes, the capitalist system does require pervasive coercion to remain viable. The system, of course, is not a monolith. It is a collection of interests, but there are fundamental forces that are driven by the logic of capital accumulation.

Most industries that thrive or innovate, however, find some way of merging state interests with their own. The airplane industry would be completely different today had it not been for incredible state subsidies for research and development, and almost exclusive and consistent purchases for state use. Computers were developed largely within the state or state-monopoly sector and were completely dominated by institutional purchases for decades. Automobiles depended on not just roads, but aggressive policies to secure long-term access to oil, large government purchases for the military and huge changes in urban planning. Note how at every stage there is a bias towards consolidation and the subsidy of scale, too. These policies multiply off eachother, too. Fast food restaurants rapidly expanded with the growth of car culture, and depend on the same factory logic for food production as much of the rest of the system (so much so that famously the American government supposedly wanted to reclassify the jobs as industrial to offset bad statistics in factory jobs). But this is all part of a long-term struggle, so the tactics always change and we need to keep our eye on the larger picture. That larger picture is that the accumulation of capital coincides with collusion with an aggresively supportive state and is not the chief result of some individualist fantasy of entrepreneurship.
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald,

I'm not as eloquent as you are, but I'll do my best :D

I'd agree that the industries you've mentioned were established primarily as a result of government investment, but only because government was in the position of being the biggest single customer available.

The most rapid advancements in the computer industry, for instance, started occurring when government was no longer the only, or even primary, market for the technology.

The airline industry continues to decline mostly because government subsidies have enabled the large airlines to avoid innovation - most industries rebuilt themselves over the 80s and 90s, but airlines didn't have to. I suspect this is why smaller airlines that are trying things differently are out-competing the big boys.
Craig
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donald Hughes wrote:
Most industries that thrive or innovate, however, find some way of merging state interests with their own.


Just because government facilitates doesn't mean that government can take credit for their profits. Who are you to say that in the absense of government their profits wouldn't be greater. We have government - therefore, business tries to make the best of a bad situation.

Quote:
The airplane industry would be completely different today had it not been for incredible state subsidies for research and development, and almost exclusive and consistent purchases for state use.


Again, you are assuming that without government that research and development wouldn't have happened. How can you be so sure? I would argue that without government, and the incredible burden it puts on business and consumers, these businesses would have a greater impetus to research and develop products. Their pot of gold at the end of the capitalist rainbow would be that much larger. What you are seeing is an illusion. Government hampers capitalism through bureacracy and taxation and then swoops in like a superhero with subsidies. The populous eats it up and rewards the interventionists.

Quote:
Automobiles depended on not just roads, but aggressive policies to secure long-term access to oil, large government purchases for the military and huge changes in urban planning.


Did automobiles depend on that or did the people who drove them. It was consumer demand that forced governments to implement those policies not some formal arrangement between business and government.

Quote:
Note how at every stage there is a bias towards consolidation and the subsidy of scale, too.


That I will agree with. That is a fault of democracy. Established players have a distinct advantage - they employ voters.

Quote:
That larger picture is that the accumulation of capital coincides with collusion with an aggresively supportive state and is not the chief result of some individualist fantasy of entrepreneurship.


No doubt there is collusion. But it is dwarfed by the pressure of democracy. It is consumers that are driving these trends. If your theory held water than why are the three largest automakers in the world about to die and to be replaced by foreign automakers? How come Washington isn't colluding with them?
Donald Hughes





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
I'd agree that the industries you've mentioned were established primarily as a result of government investment, but only because government was in the position of being the biggest single customer available.
Which is to say, it is part of the actual history of capitalist development. I understand full well that we might wish, say, that there hadn't been a period of overt slavery of millions of people and the massive colonial plundering of various places during the early development of capitalism. It would be better if we could point to a series of brilliant entrepreneurs surviving in spite of government action and as they treat all their workers fairly. But plunder and collusion is the real history of capitalism.
Quote:
Just because government facilitates doesn't mean that government can take credit for their profits. Who are you to say that in the absense of government their profits wouldn't be greater. We have government - therefore, business tries to make the best of a bad situation.
Well, remember that "in the absence of government" is nonsensical. You can't protect capitalism without a large coercive apparatus. And this is doubly true when you are trying to build up a reserve army of unemployed, you need to do things like kick people off common lands and regulate things like begging. It also ignores the huge drive towards demand management that was most pronounced during World War II. Of course, you are correct, business did make the most of this new situation. In the US, they largely ensured that the state prioritized investment in areas like defence and infrastructure instead of health and human services. You are also correct to say that there was a democratic push against this, given a broad "post-war social-democratic consensus." This reached fever levels in the mid-to-late 1960s, but was co-opted and eventually beaten back in various ways.
Quote:
Again, you are assuming that without government that research and development wouldn't have happened.
No, I am saying that the current distribution property owes more to collusion with the state and heavily-planned corporate powers. This is the actual history of the development of capitalism.
Quote:
If your theory held water than why are the three largest automakers in the world about to die and to be replaced by foreign automakers? How come Washington isn't colluding with them?
I assure you that Washington did collude with automakers for decades. "What is good for GM is good for America," and all that. But again this is a matter of a collection of interests. I am no expert in this field, so I can't offer specifics. But my initial guess would be that automobile production has been shifted away from areas where the workers have some level of control over their conditions and remuneration towards areas where they can be much more aggressively controlled at lower cost. Some manufacturers of vehicles have done this internally by having excess capacity overseas as a strategy of breaking strikes and unions inside the USA. Where they can't do this, they outsource particular components in the same way. Others have failed to do this and have blamed the expensive result on unions and benefits. The structural supports for cars in general tend to remain. There are, of course, different pressures and moments within this struggle. In some cases it may make sense to establish a national industry and in others it may make sense to operate on a multinational level. The tendency today is towards the latter in the West, obviously.
anchorlink





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am stupefied by the Bush administration's spending. I would love to see the next Republican presidential nomination battle fought between hardline fiscal conservatives.

I support the American Libertarian Party (in spirit, admittedly, not being eligible to vote in U.S. elections) partially because I'm so disillusioned with the lack of real fiscal conservatism within the Republican Party.
Peter





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The government did not invent the car or the airplane, go to sleep if you think government help is required for anything to be achieved. Private organizations are better at reducing poverty than the government.

Ok. Back on Topic.

George Bush is not a fiscal conservative. Evidence: US Budget.
George Bush is not a social conservative, he's a religious extremist. Let me explain.
Social conservative is a negative conotation that many like the CBC have used as a negative branding in Canada. In America, they refer to Bush's views on socialism as Religious Right (that's why they use neo-con, it's new conservative not old original conservative), meaning he wants the government to give money to the Church and he wants the eradication of all other religions on earth (except for Jews, since they need to be around until Jesus returns, then they be in hell after that). And that "God" is responsible for GW actions. That's extreme.

A REAL Social Conservative is Pierre Trudeau, Harry Browne, the people who say government should stay out of people's lives and bedrooms. That we should all be equal and that the government should not even know about religion (Trudeau was missing this specific part however). This is the original American social contract, those that believe in it our the Social Conservatives.

Let's reclaim our own words!
Stephen





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter wrote:
he wants the eradication of all other religions on earth


That's quite a statement. I'd like to see your source on that one. :?:
Peter





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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen wrote:
Peter wrote:
he wants the eradication of all other religions on earth


That's quite a statement. I'd like to see your source on that one. :?:


This is part of the world view of Evangelical Christians. It's part of the reason they so strongly support Israel. Israelis welcome this support because evangelicals are kind to them and have money and power.

My conclusions are that Evangelical Christians want everyone else to be Christian, it's their divine mission with the ultimate goal to eradicate other religions. Some of them will tell you this. George Bush is a model of Evangelicalism.

Source:

Isaiah 13:11
Lamentations 4:12
Matthew 24:14
John 3:19
John 16:8

More info:
Evangelicalism they believe in Public Morality

Also, read the quote in this paragraph. It is a complete fabrication of what the founding fathers believed, this is what they believed:

The civil Government, though bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability, and performs its functions with complete success, whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State (Letter to Robert Walsh, Mar. 2, 1819).
--James Madison

Madison's summary of the First Amendment:

Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform (Annals of Congress, Sat Aug 15th, 1789 pages 730 - 731).

Source

Your Welcome :)
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Is George Bush a conservative?

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