I have maintained here and on other blogs that George W. Bush is no fiscal conservative. A great many Americans think that his low approval rating is tied solely to the war but its more than that.
Bush has been a bad Republican.
His constituents (especially fiscal conservatives) are jumping on the disapproval hog pile right after democrats, socialists (is that redundant?), pacifists, and pro-choicers.
As November draws closer, the economy, and the cause of its weakness, our tax-and-spend government policies, will be number one on voters' minds. The rebate will have long been spent on two weeks' groceries.
To hear Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tell it, the Bush Administration is in the pocket of corporate interests. That's a good one. A look at the recent Bush regulatory record makes one wonder why the party's candidates aren't holding it up as a model of Democratic governance.
The cost of new regulations has increased every year on Mr. Bush's watch, but last year was by far the highest. What's more, a new Heritage Foundation report concludes that the Administration's agency czars are in a "clear the decks" mode of promulgating rules during the Presidency's final 10 months.
The Small Business Administration calculates that the total cost in 2005 of complying with 145,000 pages of federal rules and procedures was $1.1 trillion. This is the rough economic equivalent of imposing a second federal income tax on the economy.
Excluding homeland security regulations, the budgets of Uncle Sam's 50 largest agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Consumer Products Safety Commission, are up almost one-third since 2001. There are now some 200,000 full-time government employees writing and enforcing federal commandments.
Industry and taxpayer groups worry for good reason that the next Administration, Republican or Democratic, will embark on a regulatory stampede in 2009. There's no excuse for Mr. Bush to give this a running start.