Comparing Presidents, Spending on Justice

Law and order is typically something Republicans campaign on, so its clearly important to a large segment of the electorate. This post looks at spending on spending on law and order issues, and how that has changed over time and by Presidential administration.

The data used is from White House OMB Table 3.1: Outlays by Superfunction and Function. In particular, we’ll look at administration of justice (which presumably includes not just the legal system, but various police functions) as a percentage of total federal outlays. Here’s a graph:

(Snide aside… I wonder how much Nixon regretted spending on law and order, and doesn’t it look like Ford clearly felt enough was enough? FWIW, part of Carter’s decline in spending might be due to his thinking Nixon overdid it.)

Here’s a summary.

From this… it really does seem like a Republican issue, given that JFK/LBJ and Carter take up the bottom of the pack. But… Nixon at the top of the heap? Irony of ironies. And Clinton as second, beating out most Republicans on a Republican issue… well, I’ve grown accustomed to that in the course of this series. And here’s one where GHW does well, better than Reagan.

And now for the obligatory Bush Derangement Syndrome… notice that GW’s attitude toward Justice seems to have, well, um, evolved, (yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for) over time. I expect it to evolve further. If I were betting, I’d say in two years it will evolve him down to seventh place. Considering the number of administration officials that have already been indicted (just yesterday a Deputy Secretary of the Interior was given ten months in jail), I can’t imagine GW has much of an interest in keeping the process flowing smoothly.

Next data related-post… Murder!

Question – Also… I could use some help. As noted yesterday, if anyone knows where I could find time series data on white collar crime, it would be great. Also, does anyone have a list of administration officials indicted and/or convicted going back a few administrations (ideally to Ike)? Again, time series form would be easiest.