Another Pattern of Outright Dishonesty

Careless deficit spending. This doesn’t include encouraging Greenspan and Bernanke to keep speculation bubbles expanding, bailing out banks, etc. Almost all of Bush’s increases have gone to rich and special interests at the expense of everyone else.

Roger Baker

White House: Deficit on the rise again
by Mark Silva

The biggest news of the record $3-trillion-plus federal budget that President Bush plans to propose to Congress on Monday may be the potential deficit that comes with it.

After years of White House boasting that it is getting the deficit under control – cutting it by $250 billion during the past two years – the administration appears ready to concede that the deficit will rise to $400 billion or more in the coming year. That’s a near-return to the record $413-billion deficit reached in 2004…

The cost of the war has driven much of Bush’s spending. The president already has secured more than $600 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with “supplemental budgets” sought outside the parameters of the normal federal budget, and is seeking nearly $200 billion more for the year ahead.

“What we’ve seen this year is the continuation of another pattern of outright dishonesty,” Ornstein has said. “This has not been an effort to achieve a rational dialog about national priorities and fiscal discipline… We’ve had funding for the war drawn through the back door of supplemental and emergency spending… It’s one thing if you have an emergency, but this has been funding the traditional cost of the wars in a way that tries to disguise the spending in the eyes of the public.”

The average annual growth in defense spending has run 5.7 percent on Bush’s watch – a greater rate than any post-World War II president achieved, the Cato Institute has found. It was down 1.7 percent a year, on average, during Clinton’s terms. Johnson, waging a war in Vietnam, had boosted it by 4.9 percent a year.

Yet this president hasn’t always paid for the war at the expense of social programs: Bush has bought guns, and butter, too. But in the balance, the share of the federal pie for the Pentagon has grown far greater than the share for domestic spending.

Defense Department has grown by more than 60 percent since the start of Bush’s presidency. Between fiscal 2002, the first year over which Bush had full control of the budget, and last year, national defense spending grew to $572 billion, up 64 percent….

Among post-World War II presidents, he has found, Bush’s discretionary spending has outpaced Johnson’s. It grew on average by 4.6 percent a year during Johnson’s presidency. During the first six years of Bush’s presidency, it grew by 5.4 percent. Even if the last year of tight restraints on discretionary spending is included, the rate of growth still averaged 5.4 percent on Bush’s watch…

Read it here.

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