So Now They're Fiscal Conservatives

President Obama won House approval for an $819 billion economic plan without a single vote from Republicans as Democrats sought to temper their own differences.

Let's take a look at recent history, shall we? Here is a graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve of government expenditures and receipts for the years 2001 until the most recent figures:

From 2001 until 2006 the Republicans controlled the Legislature and the presidency. Throughout this time we were told the economy was the "greatest story never told". At the same time, the government was clearly operating in deficit territory. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Public Debt, the US government issued over $500 billion of new new debt per year every year since 2003 (and came really close in fiscal year 2002):

09/30/2008 $10,024,724,896,912.49 09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48 09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23 09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50 09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32 09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62 09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16 09/30/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06 09/30/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86

So -- the Republicans clearly have no fundamental issue with deficit spending. Then it must be something else.

The economy was growing from 2001-2006 when the Republicans were in power. It was the "greatest story never told". That means government spending as a tool to get the economy going isn't a bad thing according to Republicans. So it must be something else.

Let's see .. what could it be ...

Oh yeah. The country is in the middle of one of the worst recessions in over 70 years. Consumer spending is falling off a cliff, industrial production is collapsing, capacity utilization is down, housing is in the tank, unemployment is rising, more and more companies are announcing big lay-offs, investment spending is falling .... you get the idea. The government is the only player who can do anything right now because every other economic player is out of the game. Yet -- according to Republican economic philosophy -- this is the time to become fiscal conservatives.