« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

Rick Santorum: Fiscal Conservative?

I have heard Sen. Rick Santorum described as a big government conservative. So I decided to take a look at this allegation. Rick Santorum was a senator for the state of Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2006. From 1991 to 1995 he was a congressman. During these 16 years he took many required votes on spending and taxes.

In 1991 the GDP of the United States was 5.93 trillion. In 2006 , the last year Rick Santorum was a senator, the GDP grew to 13.91 trillion. The size of the economy more than doubled under his tenure as a senator.  In 1991 more than 5,150,000 people were on the federal government payroll. In 2007 the number had decreased by approximately 20% to 4,127,000. In 1991 the federal budget was 1.324 trillion. The budget increased in 2007 to 2.728 trillion. This increase tracks the increase in the GDP of the nation.

So how is a senator or congressman rated a being a fiscal conservative? The National Taxpayers Union ( for years) rates members of house and senate and gives them a grade. An “A” equates to a 4.0, a “B” 3.0, a “C” 2.0 etc. In an article on the Weekly Standard  by Jeffrey Anderson and Andy Wickersham they write:

“ Fifty senators served throughout Santorum’s two terms: 25 Republicans, 24 Democrats, and 1 Republican/Independent. On a 4-point scale (awarding 4 for an A, 3.3 for a B+, 3 for a B, 2.7 for a B-, etc.), those 50 senators’ collective grade point average (GPA) across the 12 years was 1.69 — which amounts to a C-. Meanwhile, Santorum’s GPA was 3.66 — or an A-. Santorum’s GPA placed him in the top 10 percent of senators, as he ranked 5th out of 50.

Across the 12 years in question, only 6 of the 50 senators got A’s in more than half the years. Santorum was one of them. He was also one of only 7 senators who never got less than a B. (Jim Talent served only during Santorum’s final four years, but he always got less than a B, earning a B- every year and a GPA of 2.7.) Moreover, while much of the Republican party lost its fiscal footing after George W. Bush took office — although it would be erroneous to say that the Republicans were nearly as profligate as the Democrats — Santorum was the only senator who got A’s in every year of Bush’s first term. None of the other 49 senators could match Santorum’s 4.0 GPA over that span.

This much alone would paint an impressive portrait of fiscal conservatism on Santorum’s part. Yet it doesn’t even take into account a crucial point: Santorum was representing Pennsylvania.”

Santorum was not representing a red state. Now a person may quibble with a particular vote or a whole range of votes but according to the NTU his grades were exceptional.

Now it seems clear that Sen. Santorum is a fiscal conservative.

Get Alerts