Government Spending

By | March 30, 2005

Just so you know what the government is planning on doing with your money…

To hear liberals and conservatives alike, President Bush’s newly announced fiscal 2006 federal budget is nothing less than a meat-axe poised to slash the federal budget to the very bone. However, the numbers tell a somewhat different story.

* Tiny cuts: Much ink has been spilled over Bush’s pledge to cut or terminate 150 federal programs. Yet even if Congress passed each and every one of those 150 cuts, they would reduce 2006 spending by… less than 1%.

* Spending will still rise: The budget raises overall spending by 3.6% in 2006, even if it is passed without change. And that follows Bush’s incredible 33% increase in spending during the past four years. Further, billions more will be spent on the Iraq crisis.

Alan Reynolds of the libertarian Cato Institute sums up, “It is unsurprising and probably understandable that defense spending rose 38.6 percent from 2001 to 2006. What is less well known and harder to rationalize is that the spending increase over those same five years was 39.8 percent for education, 41 percent for the judicial branch, 48.1 percent for the legislative branch, 56.4 percent for state and international aid and 84.5 percent for commerce.

“Even if we measure this spending surge in constant dollars, to adjust for inflation, overall spending is projected to rise more than 23 percent from 2001 to 2006. Since the economy (GDP) did not grow nearly that much, federal spending will have risen from 18.5 percent to 19.9 percent of GDP.”

(Sources: “A Little Less is Still A Lot,” Cato Institute / Wall Street Journal:
“Budget Boredom,” Alan Reynold, Cato Institute: )

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