Bush’s Veto Pen: Spend and Borrow

Can President Bush be more fiscally dishonest?

President Bush warned Congress on Saturday that he will use his veto power to stop runaway government spending. “The American people do not want to return to the days of tax-and-spend policies,” Bush said in his radio address. The House of Representatives on Friday passed a $37 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security, but Republicans rallied enough votes to uphold a promised veto from Bush. The measure – one of several annual spending bills that Congress began to consider this week – exceeds Bush’s request for the department by $2.1 billion. The administration, hoping to appease Republicans who demand fiscal restraint, has pledged to keep overall spending to the level in Bush’s proposed budget in February. The president has had uneven success.

Uneven success? Who wrote this nonsense for AP? We have graphed Federal spending as a share of GDP – both in terms of Federal purchases and in terms of total Federal spending including transfer payments. What in hell does Bush mean by the “days of tax-and-spend”. The GOP candidates who wish to be Bush’s successor are suggesting we can’t return to the 1990’s. Well in the late 1990’s Federal purchases were only 6% of GDP and Federal spending was only 19% of GDP. This is compared to a 7% Federal purchase to GDP ratio and a 20.3% Federal spending to GDP ratio in 2006.

Maybe President Bush was talking about the 1980’s when a larger share of GDP went to defense spending but President Reagan adopted spend and borrow policies as the GOP wanted to pretend it was cutting taxes. The current GOP candidates for the White House are promising an even larger defense department without increasing taxes. By now – this fiscal dishonesty should be apparent to everyone. So why is George W. Bush pretending we are still this stupid? Of course, the fellow who wrote this piece for the AP is apparently as stupid as Bush assumes the rest of us are.