Monday, March 21, 2011

Democrat v. Republican Public Spending

During a recent discussion about Illinois state spending, I encountered the statement that Illinois was in financial distress because of its excessive public spending. The spreadsheet here contains data from combined with data showing which states were Red (Republican) or Blue (Democrat) in the presidential elections from 1992 to 2008 which is shown here. There are two columns on the graph containing numbers. The column with the heading S&L Spending shows the % of state and local spending relative to the state's GSP (gross state product). The second column shows how strongly the state has been voting Democrat or Republican with numbers and a color code. I tried to match the color code used on the Wikipedia site; the higher the number the stronger the state was for either Red or Blue. The first column has been sorted so that one sees at the top of the list those states spending the most on public services relative to that state's GSP. So, one could state that out of the top five biggest spenders, four were strongly Republican (Red) states. However, one quickly sees that the next two in the list are strong Democratic states. A quick look at this data would have me pronouncing that strongly Republican states do not spend less on public services than Democratic states. This negates any claims Republicans have to being the party of low public services spending.

The state of Illinois, where I reside, ranks 39th which is not a strong argument for overspending on public services in Illinois. From these data and others where the Illinois tax structure is compared with other states, I would suggest that the financial problems of Illinois are due to an inadequate tax structure that favors the rich. In my opinion a progressive tax system should be incorporated before one considers the evisceration of the public services sector.

During these deliberations the right should be continually reminded that their party is not the party of fiscal responsibility and they are the ones responsible for the current financial crisis. In this link, please note the periods of increasing outlays relative to revenue in the Reagan (1981-1989) and Bush (2001-2009) eras versus the opposite during the Clinton era (1993-2001). Any Republican claiming their party as the party of fiscal restraint must be reminded of this evidence to the contrary. Ronald Reagan was the biggest tax and spend president in history. Ronald Reagan is being turned into a God in this country only because the very rich are driving it - this is a travesty. We should not forget that Reagan started the union busting solely because the unions were the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party.

Many states are facing budget problems not because of changes in public spending, but because the very rich have run us into a ditch and now they want to carve up the little guy to pay for it. It appears to me that the right wants a free market (invisible hand) when they are making profits but then rely on the government to bail them out when they fail. This isn't capitalism my friends, this complicity between government and the corporation is called fascism.

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