Comparing Presidents, The Executive Office of the President

This post looks at spending on the Executive Office of the President as a share of the total Federal Budget and how that has changed over time. Presumably, a President that believes in limited government would be especially likely to shrink the footprint of his own office.

I should note… the idea for this post came from a comment by k harris to a post by PGL about GW’s earmarks, and that PGL had a follow-up post. I’m not sure how much new info I’m providing, except for those readers that don’t read the comments to the posts.

Moving right along, here’s a graph.

Clearly, there’s a stupendomongolous jump in 2004, and then another big jump in 2005. The scale of GW’s spending makes it hard to even see what is going on in the other administrations, so the graph below leaves out the last few years.

Notable features… huge increase (not relative to GW, of course) in the Nixon admin, a smidge of which was reversed by Ford. There’s one big odd spike in the Clinton admin (what happened? Anyone have any idea? Was that Monica Lewinsky-related?).

Here’s the summary…

The big spender is GW, followed by Nixon. Then GHW. Clinton spent half as much as GHW… note that in the second half of his term, spending seems to have started up. Bringing up the bottom is Reagan, but what is this? Carter is the next most frugal, and followed by JFK/LBJ? Not possible!

So what is going on here? Hard to say. PGL’s follow-up post on which reader sammy points, in comments, to the budget breakdown and notes that it actually includes some funding for Iraq. Why funding for Iraq should be put into the President’s budget I have no idea. But it does raise the question about whether Nixon did the same thing during the Vietnam War (on a much lesser scale), hence explaining the blip in his term.

I note that GW seems to have been increasing spending even before he began using this artifact to pay for parts of the Iraq War.