NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gop Spending Spree

November 25, 2003

By failing to restrain federal spending now, warns the Wall Street Journal, congressional Republicans and the president are increasing the political pressure they will face to raise taxes in the future.

  • The final tallies show that overall spending grew by almost 9 percent for the 2003 fiscal year ending September 30, and by 21 percent over the past two years.
  • This is before the $400 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit and this year's energy and omnibus spending bills.
  • As a result, military spending has climbed 17 percent in the recent fiscal year and 34 percent over the past two.
  • As a share of the economy, defense spending is still well below its high in the 1980s, when it was 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product; today's figure is still only 3.8 percent.

The alarming figure is domestic discretionary spending, or the kind that Congress has to approve each year. (Entitlement spending increases automatically based on formulas.)

Non-military discretionary spending rose last year by 8.5 percent -- more than double the 4 percent cap on increasing such spending President Bush vowed to enforce and about quadruple the rate of inflation. While some of this money went to homeland security, a lot also went to such domestic boondoggles as the farm bill, transportation projects and education, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "The GOP's Spending Spree," Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB106972676753412000,00.html


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