Daily Revolt

December 26, 2007

Analysts: Bush was Big Spender in Early Years

Just call him Mr.Big spender:
[...]congressional leaders and independent analysts contend that in the first few years of his presidency, it was Bush who did a good deal to drive up the national debt. Bush spent at a pace that exceeded that of President Lyndon Johnson in the Great Society years, they say, including huge war bills that went beyond the bounds of normal budgeting.

With Democrats in control of Congress since the start of this year, Bush has begun wielding his veto power over spending with a new vigor. He did not veto a single spending bill during the six years that the Republicans controlled Congress, despite some generous packages produced by lawmakers in those days.

[...]"These bills don't look much different than when Republicans had control of the Congress," said Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "The difference now is that they are Democratic bills."

[...]Five years ago, for example, Bush signed a farm bill full of controversial subsidies, produced by a Republican Congress, that critics say is not much different from one he is now threatening to veto. The Bush administration also created a highly expensive Medicare drug benefit in late 2003, seemingly hiding the cost to push it through.

[...]Whoever is at fault, the impact of federal spending in the Bush years will be long-lasting, analysts say. The accumulated national debt -- $5.77 trillion near the end of Bush's first year in office -- now stands at $9 trillion. The cost of paying the interest on that debt ran to $250 billion in 2007, nearly half of what the government spent on the Defense Department.

[...]Defense spending has grown by an average of 5.7 percent each year under Bush, more than under any other post-World War II president, the Cato Institute has found. At the same time, discretionary spending has grown by an average of 5.4 percent, compared to 4.6 percent during Johnson's tenure.

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