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Here are 10 Times 'Limited Government' Republicans Have Grown the Size of the State
When have Republicans ever shrunk the size of government?
Sometimes people balk when I suggest that Republicans are not significantly different from Democrats. A troubling number of people seem to think the GOP is actually the party of “limited government.”
But when you look at the history, you can see that the Republican Party is not nearly as committed to shrinking the size of government as they would have us believe. Indeed, Republican politicians have contributed greatly to the growth of the state, which has only served to make Americans less free.
I’m fond of asking a question to conservatives and Republicans: When was the last time in recent memory that the GOP has actually shrunk the government in a significant way?
No matter how hard they search their memories, it is difficult for them to come up with an example.
There’s a reason for that, of course.
The reality is that Republicans, throughout the nation’s history, has passed or supported legislation that has transformed our centralized government into the behemoth it is today.
Here are but a few examples:
The creation of the Department of Homeland Security: In 2002, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the Homeland Security Act, which established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS is one of the largest federal agencies, with over 240,000 employees and a budget of over $40 billion.
Medicare Part D: In 2003, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, which created Medicare Part D. This added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and increased the federal government's involvement in healthcare.
No Child Left Behind: In 2002, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act, which expanded the federal government's role in education. The law required states to administer standardized tests to students and established a system of sanctions for schools that did not meet certain performance standards.
TARP: In 2008, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which authorized the federal government to spend up to $700 billion to stabilize the financial system. TARP involved the government buying assets from banks and other financial institutions to prevent a collapse of the financial system.
The Patriot Act: In 2001, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the USA PATRIOT Act, which expanded the federal government's surveillance powers and gave law enforcement agencies new tools to investigate and prevent terrorism.
The War on Drugs: Republican President Richard Nixon launched the War on Drugs in 1971, which involved increased federal funding for law enforcement and increased federal involvement in drug policy. The federal government's role in drug policy has continued to grow over the years, despite opposition from some Republicans who advocate for smaller government.
The National Defense Education Act (NDEA): Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the NDEA into law in 1958. This legislation provided funding for science, mathematics, and foreign language education in American schools, and marked the first time the federal government had provided direct financial assistance to education.
The creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA): In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which established the TSA. This agency is responsible for security screening at airports and has grown to become one of the largest federal agencies.
The creation of the Department of Energy: Republican President Richard Nixon signed the Department of Energy Organization Act into law in 1977, which established the Department of Energy. This agency is responsible for the United States' energy policy and has grown to become one of the largest federal agencies.
The War on Terror: Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Republican President George W. Bush launched the War on Terror, which involved significant increases in federal spending on defense and intelligence. This included the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the expansion of the military, and increased surveillance and intelligence gathering.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as “Obamacare” gets an dishonorable mention. Yes, it is true that Republicans opposed this legislation. But what some have forgotten is that the framework of the program was borrowed, in large part, from former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who championed similar legislation in his state.
It is also worth noting that after years of promising to repeal and replace Obamacare, Republicans failed to make this happen when they had control of the White House and both chambers of Congress under President Donald Trump.
To be fair, there have been a few times when Republican politicians actually chipped away at the rapid expanse of our federal government. When former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich collaborated with former President Bill Clinton to pass the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, it resulted in significant spending cuts and reforms to Medicare.
Also, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 reformed the welfare system by putting limits on the duration of time people could receive benefits. It also implemented work or job training to receive these benefits. It was intended to reduce depedence on the state.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that even these two examples aren’t close to being enough to claim that the Republican Party is truly the party of limited government. Yes, Democrats are slightly worse when it comes to expanding the size and scope of the federal government.
But the difference is that Democrats do not lie about wanting to grow the state. Sure, they lie about most other issues, but not this one.
When it comes to the size of the federal government, Republicans are not only in line with Democrats, they are dishonest about it.
This truth is one of many that led to my decision to walk away from the GOP and partisan politics altogether. I will be explaining this more in depth in my upcoming book “Chasing Liberty: A Journey from Partisan Politics to the Fight for Freedom.”
But it is important that we stop thinking of Team Blue and Team Red as opposing forces. In reality, the elites on both teams are working hand-in-hand in their efforts to rule over us. Supporting either side is only leading to the same end: A more authoritarian society. There has to be a better way to preserve liberty, right?
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