NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 3, 2006

Federal spending is outstripping economic growth at a rate unseen in more than half a century, provoking some conservatives to complain that government under Republican control has gotten too big.

The federal government is currently spending 20.8 cents of every $1 the economy generates, up from 18.5 cents in 2001, White House budget documents show. That's the most rapid growth during one administration since Franklin Roosevelt, who served 1933-45, during the Depression and World War II.

This week, the House is scheduled to debate the $2.8 trillion budget for 2007, which projects an additional $3 trillion of debt in the next five years.

Other examples:

  • Spending for President Bush's military buildup, which began before 9/11, has risen nearly 50 percent above inflation in five years.
  • Medicare's new prescription-drug coverage is projected to cost an average of $80 billion a year over the next decade, adding nearly 20 percent to the health care program's annual price tag.
  • Spending on social programs, from education to health care for veterans, has risen faster than at any time since the 1960s.

By far the bulk of new funding -- 75 percent of it -- has been to restore the hollowed-out military the president inherited, strengthen homeland defenses after 9/11, and fight the war on terror, says Scott Milburn, spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget. These are essential investments that were required to protect our nation, he says.

The spending spike contrasts with the mid-1990s, when Republicans gained control of Congress and compromised with President Clinton on spending cuts that led to a $236 billion budget surplus in 2000.

Source: Richard Wolf, "Fastest rise in federal spending since FDR; Growth dismays some within GOP," USA Today, April 3, 2006.


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