Debunking the Myth of the Fiscally Responsible Republican

gwbush-big-spenderThere’s this common misnomer within the Republican party that seems to imply calling yourself “fiscally conservative” means you’re fiscally responsible.

However, Republicans are neither fiscally conservative nor fiscally responsible.

When I hear “fiscally conservative” I think of someone who tends to be very frugal, some might even call cheap.  I know a couple of these people.  They live a very modest lifestyle, drive an older car when they could easily afford a new one, count every penny and the words “I’ve got this tab” have never come out of their mouths.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these types of people, to each their own, but it’s a lot easier to just save everything than it is to actually spend money on smart purchases.

Now when I hear “fiscally responsible” I think of someone who isn’t afraid to spend money, they’re just responsible with how they spend it.  They might take a nice vacation or buy a fancy new television, they just make sure they get the best deal and value.  I consider myself one of these people.  I have no problem spending money, I just make sure I get the most “bang for my buck.”

But Republicans are neither of these.

While they claim to be “fiscally conservative,” they’re anything but.  Republicans, if I’m wrong, please tell me—who was the last Republican President to actually balance the budget?

You know what, I’ll do it for you.  It was President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  For those who might be historically challenged, he was President over 50 years ago.

Since the dawn of “Trickle Down Economics” and the “fiscally conservative hero” President Reagan, Republican Presidents have left office not only increasing our national debt, but drastically increasing it.

So tell me again, how is that “fiscally conservative?”  Because they want to cut taxes for the rich?  Oh, by the way, cutting taxes does not make someone “fiscally conservative.”  Especially when those tax cuts have led to drastic increases in our deficits, have mainly benefited the rich and have had zero correlation with job creation.

And let’s not forget the trillions Republicans have spent on bloated defense contracts and wars since the 1980’s.

But hey, they’re against funding programs that help the poor, would provide health care for millions of Americans and could drastically improve our education system—that makes them “fiscally conservative,” right?

To spend the money Republicans have over the years on extremely bloated programs such as our national defense, while claiming to be fiscally conservative just because they seek to cut programs that help the poor, would be like an someone saying they’re tackling their massive debt by cutting out Cheerios from their monthly budget.

When faced with an enormous national debt, and an escalating financial crisis, they chose to bail out the very institutions which caused the crisis—then later blamed the national debt on the poor.

They handed over massive tax breaks to the top 2% of Americans, deregulated our financial sector, then when it all fell apart—their answer to fix the mess was blaming people on food stamps and pushing for more tax breaks for the very same people that didn’t create jobs with the tax breaks they were given nearly a decade earlier.

There’s nothing responsible about that.

And here’s a rule: You can’t be the party for “fiscally conservative values” when it’s been over half a century since the last President from your party actually balanced the budget.

So while Republicans might have manipulated their voters into believing that they support the “party for fiscal responsibility,” I’ll challenge any Republican reading this to show me where a Republican President in the last half century has balanced the budget.

And when they can do that, then I’ll be the first one to call Republicans fiscally responsible.

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • KO

    You left out the part where Republicans consistently vote against programs would require upfront expenditures of taxpayer money, but that studies show would put that money back into the American economy many times over: free college education for all, preschool for all, Medicare for all, infrastructure investments…I could go on. If it doesn’t make some corporation outrageously rich, or if it’s a use of tax dollars that might even tangentially help “the poor,” they’d prefer for America to rot. Republicans are most definitely NOT fiscally responsible.

  • Hosfac

    It’s so cute how you actually seem to believe that there’s some kind of difference between how Republicans and Democrats work! Once you realize that they’re both members of the same club and that the only differences are the corporations that benefit while they’re in office, it becomes painfully obvious that they’ve been encouraging this “sports hooligan” party mentality solely for the purposes of distracting us from the fact that they’ve been screwing us for decades.

    • tthreadgill

      Actually, there is. Yes, some Democrats are just as corrupt as the Republicans but its wasn’t Democrats who passed Citizens United and its not Republicans who are pushing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn this horrible SCOTUS ruling. When people throw up their hands and claim both sides are similarly guilty of the problems we confront, it is intellectually lazy and a false equivalency. No party will ever be for everything I agree with. That’s just reality. But unless the majority of voters in this country stop with the cynicism, get off their asses and force the Democratic party to move hard against to tide of corporatism, we will all be living in corpora-fascist state. You can either pick a side in the fight and push your side to do whats right, or you can cry in your spilled milk. It’s up to you.

      • wecandobetter758

        Republicans didn’t “pass” Citizens United. That was a Supreme Court ruling.

        In one respect I agree with you: the whole false equivalency between the parties has to stop. After all, the Republican Party has a clear agenda that they articulate loudly and often. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, does not seem to have any clear agenda or direction, and what platform they do have is based almost entirely on the playbook rules the republican party created. Deficit, debt ceiling, low taxes, “reining in” social programs, abortion/choice, reduced regulation, “free” trade: these are all issues defined by the conservative republican playbook, and the democratic party seems fine with letting these be the defining issues in every election. The aren’t the same as the republican party, but they are definitely letting the republican party call the shots.

      • tthreadgill

        I should have written filed instead of passed.

        Citizens United, a conservative think tank, chaired by David Bossie. filed the lawsuit. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and lawyer Floyd Abrams were hired to argue for Citizens United and executed the case. Conservative justices ruled in favor of Citizens United.

      • wecandobetter758

        “The claim that the two political parties have similar political agendas is frankly, absurd.”

        Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps you can clarify the agenda of the democratic party, as it is today, and distinguish it from the republican party, other than by degree. But I no longer see the democratic party fighting for ideals that used to be considered “left” of center, progressive, or forward thinking. Maybe they never did stand for these ideals. It wasn’t that long ago that the democratic party was the party of southern bigots.

        What I see is that they generally take positions weakly opposing republicans on issues that republicans define as the most “important,” pressing issues, such as second-amendment rights, abortion, free trade, regulation, privatization, reducing taxes, etc. The republicans have taken control of the discourse and defined the issues that politicians talk about. Democrats are permitting this, because they have no real platform, and no discernible agenda at all..

        I see many democratic politicians at the state and federal level voting in favor of corporations, in favor of weakening Social Security and Medicare, in favor of increasing H1-B visas, in favor of privatization of critical public services, against choice, against equal rights, against gun control, against pollution control, against reasonable immigration reform, against workers’ rights, etc.

        I do NOT see a united front of democratic politicians pushing for environmental regulation, workplace equality, women’s rights, banking reform, or election reform. I do not see them pursuing anti-trust violations. I do not see them putting up a united front to protect public education, the post office, social security, medicare, universal healthcare, or anything else, for that matter. Obviously, there are democrats who stand for all these things. But there are few who *consistently* stand for them, and many that vote consistently with republicans.

        Combine this with the fact that politicians from both parties are solidly in the pockets of corporate donors, and you may see why so many people have trouble distinguishing between the parties.

  • suburbancuurmudgeon

    So, waiting for the trolls that will blame Clinton for the housing bubble and Obama for the massive $11 trillion debt that materialized out of thin air on January 20, 2009.

  • suburbancuurmudgeon

    Republicans are “fiscally conservative” because they don’t spend money on lazy poor people. I don’t ever hear their supporters complaining about charging two wars on a credit card from the Bank of China.

    • Charles Vincent

      You should ask yourself these two questions. How many political parties do we have? Answer… Two. Which political party is more conservative? Answer the Republican Party cause they only need to be more conservative than the Democratic Party that makes them the Conservative party. Just a thought.

  • Jacob Daniels

    I like how despite the rejecting facts they STILL claim they’re fiscally responsible. Republicans aren’t responsible one bit. They LOVE to cover up they’re failure of responsibility with Bush Jr and blame it on Obama. How many wars has Obama started?! ZERO!!!!!!!! I will get trolled but unless another Liberal responds I will respond. I won’t respond to a troll.

    • Charles Vincent

      And Obama is not only continuing Afghanistan, he is getting us into conflicts in Syria, and Lybia. All the while he is providing us military hardware to groups that have affiliations to terrorist groups like al Qaeda, but I guess that’s bush’s fault as well.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Where did you get that from, Faux News?!

      • Charles Vincent

        It’s on pretty much every news channel including left wing, and right wing alternative news sources. I guess this means its also bushs fault cause Obama never did anything wrong ever he is just a victim…

      • Jacob Daniels

        Sure…. Like Obama is really supporting Al Qaeda. If anything, he’s supporting Israel. Maybe you have them confused.

      • Charles Vincent

        Maybe you should pull your head out of the sand, the us is sending arms to Syrian rebels with ties to al Qaeda. The NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CNN, are a few of the news agencies with articles on the subject. All you need to do is google it. And Obama also supports the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, a political faction he has sent F16 fighter jets to.

      • Jacob Daniels

        The US is NOT sending arms to Syrian rebels with ties to Al Qaeda! The US said that they would give arms to the rebels if they needed it. Obama said he won’t interfere as of yet.

      • Charles Vincent

        “The US said that they would give arms to the rebels if they needed it. Obama said he won’t interfere as of yet.”
        Syrian rebels claim delivery of new weapons

        Syrian rebels say they have received a shipment of weapons from their allies, the latest since the US said it would give military support to opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

        Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Muqdad claimed the weapons could “change the course of the battle” against the Syrian regime.

        “We’ve received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground,” Muqdad told the AFP news agency.

        “We have begun distributing them on the front lines, they will be in the hands of professional officers and FSA fighters,” he said.

        Your argument fails perhaps you are either looking at sources that aren’t current or have a case of cranial-rectalitis, either way you’re still wrong.

        You also avoided the muesli brotherhood like the plague which means you acquiesce to the assertion.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Well, I will ask you this: Why would Obama, knowing that Israel hates Syria, help Syria?!

      • Charles Vincent

        Thats a question only Obama can answer. In my opinion not only is he not very smart in terms of foreign relations but he is arrogant and seems to have tunnel vision on far to many issues. He seems to lack the foresight ofnpresidents like Bush Sr. and Reagan in terms of understanding how to deal with foreign policy and foreign countries.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Obama IS indeed very smart in foreign relations. Obama is NOT arrogant at all. If any President was arrogant it was Bush Jr. Bush Jr. lied about almost everything during his 8 years. Obama hasn’t lied about anything as of yet.

      • Charles Vincent

        That preposterous Obama has lied since day one all you have to do is look up his speakers from when he was campaigning I remember one specifically about him dinging bush over the patriot act, and now he’s at the podium saying we all need to give up some more privacy. He is an arrogant condescending dolt he didn’t listen to his own DOJ when they told him universal background check wouldn’t work, he’s now selling arms to terrorist affiliated rebels in Syria and Egypt, both of those groups have ties to Al Qaeda which happens to be an enemy of the state. And treason is defined as giving aid or comfort to the enemy. He also used drone strikes to kill American citizens.
        I wasn’t talking about bush Jr and he has no relevance to this discussion, unless you saying he is obamas puppet master. Even democrats think obamas foreign policy is poor.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Sure… Obama is really selling arms to terrorists. You’re no better than the Tea Party. If he’s so condescending and arrogant then how come he’s reduced the deficit, lowered the debt and stopped the war in Afghanistan?! The Democrats DO NOT think Obama’s foreign policies are bad. You’re not a Dem so how would you know?! Also, if Obama is using drones to kill American citizens, then how come neither me or you are dead yet huh? If you had the facts, you’d know that Obama means well.

      • Charles Vincent

        Look those articles and the titles of them detail that Obama is giving weapons to the Syrian rebels who have ties to al. Qaeda. I didn’t just show you one I showed you four from different news sources none of which were fox and three of which were from left leaning sources.

        “If he’s so condescending and arrogant then how come he’s reduced the deficit, lowered the debt and stopped the war in Afghanistan?!”
        Him being arrogant or condescending has no relation to paying down debt which is still paltry considering he is adding more debt than he is paying down.

        “White House says drone strikes have killed four US citizens”
        That’s the title of an article detailing the Obama administrations use of drones to. Kill Americans, it’s on of many.

        My mistake I meant policies in general not foreign policy.

      • Jacob Daniels

        I’m done arguing with you. You’re not worth arguing with anymore.

      • Charles Vincent

        You’re done because you probably realized that there have been articles about Obama sending aid to an Al Qaeda affiliated group of Syrian rebel for at least a month and that bruised your ego and put cracks in your rosé colored glasses and now you’re going to go sulk in a corner, cheers mate.

      • Jacob Daniels

        No, I’m done because you’re ridiculous

      • Charles Vincent

        “No, I’m done because you’re ridiculous”
        That’s you saying I can’t refute the news sources that I provided and now I am mad and taking my “ball” home. The fact is I provided articles from both the Washington post and NY Times both are traditionally left leaning media sources.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Just stop. If you believe that Obama is really hurting the American people, then I pity you. Wait, no I don’t. Even though you’re an Independent, you think like a Republican.

      • Charles Vincent

        Os one issues that’s true on others I lean democrat. I don’t need yours or anyone else’s pity, I provided ample data to support my argument your refuse to believe what writers from the left have written about the topics so either you think they are full of it or they didn’t do their research or they are plain wrong. Anyway you slice it you’ve painted a picture of an inept liberal media if you’re going with any of the three things I mentioned.

      • Jacob Daniels

        Not really. I refuse to believe that the Liberal media would put such folly information out there. If you can show me the articles (links) then I might believe you. Until you just say what you read, I refuse to believe you.

      • Charles Vincent

        Well I can’t post links this site won’t let you do that but I will copy and paste the title and author and date of the articles from both the ny times and Washington post verbatim so you can find them.

        NY Times

        Syrian Rebels Tied to Al Qaeda Play Key Role in War

        Published: December 8, 2012

        Washington Post

        Syrian rebel group declares al-Qaeda tie as Kerry, diplomats discuss crisis
        By Max Ehrenfreund,April 10, 2013

      • Jacob Daniels

        Okay, first of all it’s not America giving arms to Syrian rebels it’s Qatar. And second of all, the Obama administration was giving arms to rebels in Lybia not Syria. I don’t even know if you even read the article or not but that’s what it says.

      • Charles Vincent

        Giving arms to Syrian rebels is a bad idea
        By Eugene Robinson,June 17, 2013
        Washington post bother to look man the us is giving arms to syrian rebel and the syrian rebels have terrorist ties to Al Qaeda. Here is the first paragraph of the article.
        “In Syria, the Obama administration seems to be stumbling back to the future: An old-fashioned proxy war, complete with the usual shadowy CIA arms-running operation, the traditional plan to prop up ostensible “moderates” whose prospects are doubtful and, of course, the customary shaky grasp of what the fighting is really about.”
        And the caption accompanying the imbedded video

      • Jacob Daniels

        It’s kind of funny. It looks like it’s written from a Republican.

      • Charles Vincent

        I couldn’t comment on that.

      • Charles Vincent

        NY Times
        Iraq’s Branch of Al Qaeda Merges With Syria Jihadists
        Published: April 9, 2013

        Jihadi Group Says It Stands With Other Syrian Rebels
        By JOSH WOOD
        Published: January 9, 2013

        The Obama administration did know and knew at least a year prior to this article. The other article covered other thing like the Muslim brotherhood which received f16 fighter jets frm us and I showed tou the article proving that and their ties to terrorist groups.

      • Charles Vincent

        Here are articles talking about us arms being given to those rebels

        NY Times
        Taking Outsize Role in Syria, Qatar Funnels Arms to Rebels

        Published: June 29, 2013

        Washington Post

        Shells smash into Aleppo prison; rebels, regime battle in, near ancient Syrian city

        By Associated Press, Published: July 7

      • Gary

        Wasnt it Bush Sr that was in charge of the CIA when they were helping the Afghan Freedom Fighters? Wasn’t it that very same CIA agency that supplied weapons and training to this organization? So, essentially, yes it is Bush’s fault.

      • Charles Vincent

        How is something that happened in 1979 have anything to do with current policy? And I will remind you that every recent president has done the same but in the Obama case the actual American public didn’t favor Obama intervening in Syria. Also they were trying to fund AL Qaeda associated terrorists.

  • Ike Rose-Author

    Republicans vote FOR things from which they and their buddies/”owners” can make an obscene profit (like war) and AGAINST things that does not increase their profits, and helps poor people stand up against them.