NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Washington Again in the Grip of Big Spenders

February 6, 2003

President Bush's $2.25 trillion budget is almost 30 percent larger than the budget he inherited three years ago. And since the Republicans took over Congress in 1995, the budget has grown by 50 percent. Critics say that domestic discretionary spending should be frozen at least until the budget is brought back into balance.

  • The discretionary budget has grown by 15 percent in the first two years of the Bush administration -- more than it did in Clinton's first four years in office.
  • The 2004 budget commands about 20 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.
  • Not a single cabinet agency has been eliminated and few of the 300 programs slated for closure -- a list that included the National Endowment for the Arts, the Legal Services Corp., bilingual education funds, urban transit grants and Goals 2000 -- have actually been terminated.
  • Instead, discretionary programs are growing 4 percent year-over-year.

Critics point out that in most wartime periods in American history, domestic spending has fallen so the nation's resources could be fully deployed to defeat foreign menaces. But that cautious response seems no longer operable.

Source: Stephen Moore (Cato Institute and Club for Growth), "Spending Orgy... in Behemoth Budget," Washington Times, February 6, 2003.


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