Well, well, well, now tell me again, which party is for smaller government?
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/20767.htmlBush biggest spender since LBJ
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
WASHINGTON - George W. Bush, despite all his recent bravado about being an apostle of small government and budget-slashing, is the biggest spending president since Lyndon B. Johnson. In fact, he's arguably an even bigger spender than LBJ.
"He's a big government guy," said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian research group.
The numbers are clear, credible and conclusive, added David Keating, executive director of the Club for Growth, a budget-watchdog group.
"He's a big spender," Keating said. "No question about it."
Take almost any yardstick and Bush generally exceeds the spending of his predecessors.
When adjusted for inflation, discretionary spending -- or budget items that Congress and the president can control, including defense and domestic programs, but not entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare -- shot up at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent during Bush's first six years, Slivinski calculates.
That tops the 4.6 percent annual rate Johnson logged during his 1963-69 presidency. By these standards, Ronald Reagan was a tightwad; discretionary spending grew by only 1.9 percent a year on his watch. Discretionary spending went up in Bush's first term by 48.5 percent, not adjusted for inflation, more than twice as much as Bill Clinton did (21.6 percent) in two full terms, Slivinski reports.
Defense spending is the big driver -- but hardly the only one.
Under Bush it's grown on average by 5.7 percent a year. Under LBJ -- who had a war to fund, too -- it rose by 4.9 percent a year. Both numbers are adjusted for inflation.
Including costs for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, defense spending under Bush has gone up 86 percent since 2001, according to Chris Hellman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Current annual defense spending -- not counting war costs -- is 25 percent above the height of the Reagan-era buildup, Hellman said.
Homeland security spending also has soared, to about $31 billion last year, triple the pre-Sept. 11 number.
But Bush's super-spending is about far more than defense and homeland security.
Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, points to education spending. Adjusted for inflation, it's up 18 percent annually since 2001, thanks largely to Bush's No Child Left Behind act.
The 2002 farm bill, he said, caused agriculture spending to double its 1990s levels.
Then there was the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit -- the biggest single expansion in the program's history -- whose 10-year costs are estimated at more than $700 billion.
And the 2005 highway bill, which included thousands of "earmarks," or special local projects stuck into the legislation by individual lawmakers without review, cost $295 billion.
"He has presided over massive increases in almost every category ... a dramatic change of pace from most previous presidents," said Slivinski.