I recently came across an interesting news item. It was a breakdown of spending trends of 13 Democrat-controlled states compared to 24 states under Republican rule. The report covered spending trends from 2011 through 2013. These statistics came from the National Association of State Budget Officer’s Expenditures Report.

I found this report telling in that, brace yourself for a shock, all Democrat-controlled states saw increased spending, whereas 10 of the Republican-controlled states saw a spending decrease. When saying “Democrat or Republican-controlled states,” the report refers to states where one or the other political party controls both legislative chambers as well as the governor’s mansion.

Here are some specifics. In 2010, Democrat-run states had a 59 percent faster general fund spending rate than Republican-controlled states. Overall spending increased 1.11 percent for the Republicans and 5.55 percent for Democrats. This translates to a 400-percent spending increase in Democrat-controlled states over the spending increase in Republican-controlled states.

What bothers me from this is not so much that liberal, Democrat-run states wallow so freely in the public trough, but that so many Republican-controlled states had tax increases at all. This kind of behavior from Democrats is certainly standard operating procedure and therefore expected, but conservatives look for Republicans to lower or at least maintain a status-quo on spending. But as I mentioned in an earlier column, not all Republicans are conservative. And that’s too bad, because rank-and-file Republican voters mostly expect their elected representatives to hold a conservative position relative to spending.

Governors instrumental

Here are some other figures, these distilled from the Americans For Tax Reform report on tax changes. Again, those who think Democrats really don’t enjoy spending your hard-earned dollars should brace themselves for a shock. States with Democrat governors saw a whopping $60 billion in tax increases over the last three years, while Republican governors were responsible for $38 billion in tax cuts over the same time period. When added together, that gives us a staggering $98 billion difference between states with Republican governors and states with Democrat governors. And for sure, that ain’t chump change.

For people living on a tight budget who plan to relocate, which sounds most appealing, states with Republican governors or those with Democrat governors? It seems like a hands-down vote for states with Republican governors, if you ask me.

Conservatives often invoke the ire of their liberal opponents when they use the phrase, “tax-and-spend liberals.” Given the figures listed above, the phrase doesn’t sound hackneyed at all, but rather concise and to the point.

Top down

This penchant for flagrant and extravagant spending on the part of the Dems goes right to the top. The Obamas spend taxpayer money as if it were Monopoly dollars. But why not? After all, they didn’t work for it, we did. This brings up an absolute truism that applies to Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals alike. That is, no one fully appreciates things that they themselves didn’t work for. Give someone something and they may like it and really enjoy it. But they won’t really value it as much as if they had to go out and generate the bucks to buy or make it themselves. It’s just human nature.

And the Obamas are certainly examples of typical human nature when it comes to spending money they didn’t earn. Judicial Watch recently became privy to U.S. Air Force records that indicate that American taxpayers have coughed up approximately $16 million to pay for the Obamas to fly to Hawaii and Africa. Sure, the office of president comes with paid vacations, but this seems a bit ridiculous.

I don’t know about anyone else, but it irks me that any president, liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, would saddle taxpayers with such expenses. And it hurts even more now when the country is in the midst of rising healthcare costs, rising property taxes and so on and so on. We can ill afford to send anyone on taxpayer-funded vacations to other countries.

The First Lady apparently suffered no pangs of guilt when she extended her Hawaiian vacation. Michelle Obama chose to return to Washington separately, thus freeing up some time for her to visit with good friend Oprah Winfrey, in Maui. Aww, isn’t that nice? It would have been nicer if Oprah Winfrey had paid for Mrs. Obama’s expenses rather than we poor, overtaxed bums back home.

But heck, Mrs. Obama’s 50th birthday was near and President Obama “gave” his wife this extra trip as an early birthday gift. Gee, I don’t recall ever hearing about civilians or non-bureaucrats giving their spouses birthday gifts on the taxpayer’s dime. This just shows the Obama’s total disregard and lack of respect for we the people.

But the trips and expenses cited here are old news and in fact, are only the tip of the excessive-spending iceberg.

Conservative viewpoint

We conservatives believe that lower taxes mean a stronger economy. When people are allowed to keep more of their own money, they spend more of it. It’s a pretty simple concept, but one that Democrats have a difficult time grasping.

What’s more, taxes don’t just come in the form of income and property tax. Everything we buy and most things we do are taxable. Disgusted about the high price of gasoline? It’s not the gas that costs, it’s the government taxes. In fact, the gas tax is a guaranteed cash cow for bureaucrats to dip in at will. Don’t know where to get the bucks for that next big highway project? Just raise the gas tax. People are locked into buying gasoline and there’s no way around it. They may gripe and complain, but there’s not a single thing they can do about it.

It was always thus with the gas tax, but it is even more so now. The reason is the big push on President’ Obama’s part for the country to go “green,” and eschew traditional sources of energy. Never mind the failed green industries that took startup bucks from the government (taxpayer money) and promptly went out of business. But this underscores another lesson.

That lesson is, we won’t ever get away from fossil fuels as long as the departure is government-mandated. Only when private industry develops truly efficient green energy on its own, will green ever become cost-effective.

But that says it all about most everything, doesn’t it? Stop taxing people in order to give the money to unworthy causes. Instead, take the conservative path and reduce taxes. That, in turn, will stimulate industry and industry, coupled with technology, will work to better all our lives on its own, without a single dollar of tax money.