No, I don’t miss George W. Bush

You’ve probably heard about the “Miss Me Yet?” billboard in Minnesota, featuring a picture of George W. Bush. According to Fox News, a “group of small business owners and individuals,” obviously not fans of Barack Obama, paid for it.

Miss me yet? That’s all well and good, and while I’m no fan of Barack Obama, I don’t long for the presidency of George W. Bush.

From a fiscal perspective, the Bush Administration was a disaster. Before you repeat the Dick Cheney talking point that most of the spending was for defense and two wars. Let me go ahead and tell you, that’s not true. Bush was the biggest spender since Lyndon B. Johnson, dramatically increasing non-defense discretionary spending. Remember, he is a “compassionate conservative,” which is apparently a nice term for “statist.”

Bush signed a new entitlement into law, his administration enacted the most regulations since Nixon (“we’re all Keynesians now”) and he backed the Wall Street bailout while telling us that he “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” This is only the tip of the iceberg on his fiscal policies.

Yes, the tax cuts were a great idea, but not without corresponding cuts in spending. This is in effect a tax increase because of the enormous deficits that will have to be paid down the line. Let’s not forget that on January 20, 2001, the national debt was $5.7 trillion. The day Bush left office eight years late, the national debt had increase by almost $5 trillion to $10.6 trillion.

From a constitutional stand point, where do we begin? Gene Healy from the Cato Institute has done excellent work on this aspect of the Bush presidency. I guess the more appropriate question is, what part of the Bill of Rights survived the presidency of George W. Bush? He signed McCain-Feingold (violated the First Amendment, which even he admitted), his administration argued against the Second Amendment in the Heller case, he signed and defended the USA PATRIOT Act (violates the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments) and NSA wiretapping (Fourth and Fifth Amendments) and generally trampled over the Tenth Amendment through legislation like No Child Left Behind and REAL ID. I haven’t even mentioned the powers the Bush Administration tried to claim to expand the office of president, some of which are detailed in Healy’s white paper.

So no, I don’t miss George W. Bush. I miss individual liberty, free markets, divided government and the Constitution (thanks to Mike Hassinger for the image).

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