Fiscal Conservatism?


Dead…or always more talk than reality?


On death’s door at the national level anyway.


Fiscal conservatism and international hawkishness are incompatible. Though I frankly don’t understand why the hawkishness is more important to Republicans in Congress.

I don’t think the recent tax cuts represent a death to fiscal conservatism. Fiscal conservatism is fundamentally about making the government smaller, not about balancing the budget. Lowering taxes makes the government smaller, regardless of what it does to the deficit.

The recent budget and the proposed infrastructure plans (although details are needed on this) are a different story, however.

1 Like

I don’t necessarily agree. I’d need to be convinced spending less on “international hawkishness” would not ultimately cost more in the long-term.

There’s a cost to maintaining military superiority, no doubt, but there’s also an unknown cost a reduction in military spending could create when the ensuing power vacuum is filled. This could be anything from large-scale conflicts we’re dragged into (like WW2) to higher trade costs as our position on the global stage changes to any number of other possibilities.

1 Like

National level: Dead in practice since Gingrich/Clinton left.

State/Local: Alive and well in many places both Rep and Dem because states and cities can’t print money.


Downward trend on the local gov debt as a pct of GDP … it’s just being replaced by Federal debt as the Feds reach encroaches on local gov (??)

1 Like

That and I think it got more expensive for states and cities to borrow after a couple of the big defaults (Detroit, Puerto Rico, San Bernadino etc…)

Where and/or when in the world has fiscal conservatism ever existed? I can’t think of anything but maybe someone else can.

When did you get so incredulous? Everything is so inconceivable to you lately …

I thought it died a long time ago. Now Republicans want to build giant useless expensive stuff… Like walls that don’t work…Or dump money into 18th-century tech like coal… I even heard they wanted to bring back blockbuster and pagers


You need to stop using words that you don’t the meaning of. I am not being incredulous as I am asking a question and not making a statement.


That’s a statement that is very debatable, for sure.

Making Government (spending) smaller, makes Government smaller…

I’ve never seen a Tax Cut make Government smaller…but it sure as hell increases total Debt.

Dude. You serious right now?

(of a person or their manner) unwilling or unable to believe something.

This isn’t being incredulous??

explain to me how you weren’t being incredulous?

Because I am asking a question which shows I am willing to accept that it has existed.

I read it as you being incredulous, apologies.

Are you asking in terms of a central/federal government? State? local? Municipal? Familial? Individual?

Anything, not state or local. Even going back to the ancient Egyptians.

So, federal? Do you agree that the characteristics of fiscal conservatism are free trade, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes, and privatization? In the modern era I’d point to Calvin Coolidge as a good example of a fiscal conservative who was President of the United States…

Communist Romania. Seriously.

The dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was, besides being a murderous lunatic, also obsessed with fiscal discipline and set up the herculean task of eliminating Romania’s national debt to foreign creditors. Everything was subordinated to a budget surplus - all fresh fruits and vegetables were sold in the West while ordinary Romanians couldn’t get anything and were on the verge of starvation.

Ironically, he repaid the last installment just a few months before the oppressed starving Romanians rebelled, overthrew his government and had him shot alongside his wife.

Another, less bizarre example is the UK which used decades of budget surpluses to reduce the national debt from around 200% at the end of Napoleonic Wars to 30% a hundred years later.


No. I see fiscal conservatism as limited spending by the government. Those other things may be a by-product of that, and maybe good by-products at that.

Coolidge may have been that but has any large government been that and if it has, has it been that way for long? It just seems that historically all governments have ended up spending themselves into debt.

This is interesting and brings up the question of sustainability.