GOP Candidates’ Solution to Terrorism: Big Government

Tim Fernholz in Quartz: “The Republican presidential candidates debating on CNN tonight (Dec. 15) fit right in with the trailer for Michael Bay’s Benghazi techno-thriller that all too briefly interrupted their squabbles: They were stoked for big, explosive government to take over and blow voters’ fears away.”

“Following the San Bernardino attacks, the candidates were happy to leverage fears of terror plots to promote their White House aspirations … But the natural tension between the ostensible party of small government and the apparatus of a massive national security state underlined the challenge of building a broad coalition in the fractured Republican electorate.”

“Senator Rand Paul, the night’s designated libertarian conscience, made the case against bulk surveillance and various Trump policies that appear unconstitutional on their face, but his was a rare voice of dissent against a tide of conservatives arguing that the US government should expand its surveillance capabilities at home and its war-making efforts abroad.”

2 Comments

  1. If you want a sense of what another Republican presidency would look like, just look at the last one: George W. Bush grew the federal government by almost 40%, with most of it devoted to “national security.” Spending jumped from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $2.98 trillion in 2008 — a 60 percent hike in just seven years. Aside from domestic programs like No Child Left Behind (which increased ed spending by 64%) and Medicare Part D (which increased the deficit by at least $318 billion), it was all spent to supposedly “keep Americans safe.”

    Except that one very salient reason these costs were so gargantuan was because Republicans refused to establish any cost controls. Billions and billions went to 1) outsource the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at completely unprecedented levels, and 2) most of these were done via no-bid contracts (i.e., there was zero competitive bidding, much less any haggling). Republicans also refused to allow the federal government to negotiate pricing for the drugs covered under Medicare Part D — and have continued to refuse throughout Obama’s subsequent two administrations.

    So if you imagine that today’s Republicans would be any more cost-conscious than the neocons under Bush, think again.

  2. If you want a sense of what another Republican presidency would look like, just look at the last one: George W. Bush grew the federal government by almost 40%, with most of it devoted to “national security.” Spending jumped from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $2.98 trillion in 2008 — a 60 percent hike in just seven years. Aside from domestic programs like No Child Left Behind (which increased ed spending by 64%) and Medicare Part D (which increased the deficit by at least $318 billion), it was all spent to supposedly “keep Americans safe.”

    Except that one very salient reason these costs were so gargantuan was because Republicans refused to establish any cost controls. Billions and billions went to 1) outsource the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at completely unprecedented levels, and 2) most of these were done via no-bid contracts (i.e., there was zero competitive bidding, much less any haggling). Republicans also refused to allow the federal government to negotiate pricing for the drugs covered under Medicare Part D — and have continued to refuse throughout Obama’s subsequent two administrations.

    So if you imagine that today’s Republicans would be any more cost-conscious than the neocons under Bush, think again.

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