Bush biggest spender since LBJ

Popeye

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Well, well, well, now tell me again, which party is for smaller government?
Bush biggest spender since LBJ

David Lightman
McClatchy Newspapers
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.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/20767.html
 
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Bunz

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Well, well, well, now tell me again, which party is for smaller government?
Both parties share the blame on this. Congress sends Bush the bills. Bush ultimately holds the bag though because he didnt use the veto pen a bit. Shameful really. Just further evidence that very few DC politicians actually give a damn when it comes to any sort of fiscal responsibility or that our tax dollars have actual value to them.

It is quite easy to justify spending someone else's money.
 

Cookie Parker

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Both parties share the blame on this. Congress sends Bush the bills. Bush ultimately holds the bag though because he didnt use the veto pen a bit. Shameful really. Just further evidence that very few DC politicians actually give a damn when it comes to any sort of fiscal responsibility or that our tax dollars have actual value to them.

It is quite easy to justify spending someone else's money.

Republican congress gave money to military complex even though they had evidence this money was being taken fraudulently....there was never any oversight. They stole from us and continue to do so.
 

Bunz

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Republican congress gave money to military complex even though they had evidence this money was being taken fraudulently....there was never any oversight. They stole from us and continue to do so.

I dont disagree, my point, is that both sides participate in it, and look in a different direction when the other side does it.

When you have all the money you can print. It diminishes in its value, both in real terms and theory.

I am a left leaning guy, but my distaste for both parties is equal and high.
 

Popeye

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What everybody seems to be missing, in blaming both parties, is this, Republican Bush has had a Republican Congress for virtually his entire presidency. Therefore it follows, that this record spending is almost exclusively on the Republicans, the party that markets itself as the party of smaller government. Just another case of, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it".
 

vyo476

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What everybody seems to be missing, in blaming both parties, is this, Republican Bush has had a Republican Congress for virtually his entire presidency. Therefore it follows, that this record spending is almost exclusively on the Republicans, the party that markets itself as the party of smaller government. Just another case of, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it".

So now the Democratic Party is blameless simply on merit of having been out of power?

Here's a fact: being in power makes you look bad unless you're perfect. The people with the power make the mistakes. The people out of power aren't in a position to make the mistakes - so they look better.
 

Bunz

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Well put VYO, certainly more blame would fall onto the GOP. Its like the GOP holding the bank up and the Democrats driving the get-away car.
They are both guilty of it.
 

gtanner79

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I heartily agree with the stance that no party affiliation matters when it comes to spending. Both parties freely spend our money as they see fit or as they tell us it benefits us best.

Bunz is right - it's easy to spend money when it's not yours.

Although we may soon see a decrease in the defense budget, I hardly see a decrease in overall spending anytime on the horizon. One thing is true, it takes a hell of a lot of money for the government to operate and do the things we expect it to do. The other thing that's probably true, is that there's a lot of money already going to the government that's just being used carelessly or ineffeciently.

Perhaps our government should take it upon itself to "clean house" and work for efficiency first, and then decide what is "enough" to achieve its goals.
 

Popeye

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So now the Democratic Party is blameless simply on merit of having been out of power?
The Democrats certainly have done their share of spending in the past. However, in this case, it has been the Republicans who are almost exclusively responsible. A Republican president, a Republican Congress, that adds up to Republican responsibility. It also adds up to Republican hypocrisy, as it is they who have continued to claim they're for smaller government.
 
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Bunz

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Here's a fact: being in power makes you look bad unless you're perfect. The people with the power make the mistakes. The people out of power aren't in a position to make the mistakes - so they look better.
VYO, another agreement from me. It seems to me that, which ever the minority party is, they just sit back and criticize the other. It is much easier to be a back seat driver than steer through the blizzard.
It really drives and encourages aloofness. With the culture of career politicians, many are not worried about being in the minority for a decade, because they safely assume they will still be in office when the tide shifts.

From a casual viewpoint it seems that the change in the ruling party not happens because the other side has better ideas. It is that the majority has screwed up enough for now. Its time to let someone else screw up.
Bunz is right - it's easy to spend money when it's not yours.
I have seen this from the inside. There is something about signing your name to a check for over $100k and knowing it isnt coming out of your account.
 
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