George W. Bush on Budget & Economy

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)

FactCheck: Deficit is increasing substantially this year

The President proposed cutting $14 billion worth of programs and said this would keep the US "on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009." Not mentioned is that the deficit is going up this year. It was $317 billion in the fiscal year that ended last Oct. 30, and actually cut this category, and that is correct. The decline is projected to be 0.5%.

Overall federal spending is up 42% under Bush, and CBO projects further upward pressure on spending, including rising interest rates pushing up the cost of servicing the swelling national debt, and rising medical costs and Bush's new prescription drug benefit pushing up the cost of Medicare. (Neither item is counted in the "discretionary" category).

Source: FactCheck analysis of 2006 State of the Union speech Feb 1, 2006

FactCheck: Overall spending increased 42% under Bush

The President, speaking of being "good stewards of tax dollars," focused on one small part of the budget and did not mention rapid growth in overallfederal spending that has taken place under his tenure. He said "we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending," which is true. However, that category accounts for only about 16% of the whole federal budget, and it too has grown, though not as rapidly as other categories. Bush said bills were passed last year that would Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Source: 2006 State of the Union speech Feb 1, 2006

Spending cuts will reduce deficit to half by 2009

Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another $14 billion next year, and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009.
Source: 2006 State of the Union speech Jan 31, 2006

Limit discretionary spending; cut 150 non-essential programs

I will send [Congress] a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results or duplicate current efforts or do not fulfill essential priorities.
Source: 2005 State of the Union Speech Feb 2, 2005

Pay-as-you-go means you pay, he goes and spends

Q: You pledged that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year. How can you keep that pledge without running this country deeper into debt?

KERRY: I'll tell you exactly how I can do it: by reinstating what Pres. Bush took away, which is called "pay as you go." During the 1990s, we had pay-as-you-go rules. If you were going to pass something in the Congress, you had to show where you are going to pay for it and how. Pres. Bush is the only president in history to [rescind pay-as-you-go]. I'm going to reverse that. We're going to restore the fiscal discipline we had in the 1990s.

BUSH: I'll tell you what PAYGO means, when you're a senator from Massachusetts, PAYGO means: You pay, and he goes ahead and spends. He's proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending, and yet the so-called tax on the rich raises $800 billion by his account. There is a tax gap. And guess who usually ends up filling the tax gap? The middle class.

Source: [Xref Kerry] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

The middle class will have to fill the Kerry tax gap

Kerry had been a senator for 20 years, he voted to increase taxes 98 times. When they'd try to reduce taxes he voted against that 127 times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative or fiscally sound but he voted 277 times to waive the budget caps, which would have cost the taxpayers $4.2 trillion. He talks about pay-go. When you're a senator from Massachusetts, when you're a colleague of Ted Kennedy, pay-go means you pay and he goes ahead and spends. He's proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending and yet the so-called tax on the rich, which is also a tax on many small business owners in America, raises $600 billion by our account, $800 billion by his account. There is a tax gap. And guess who usually ends up filling the tax gap? The middle class. I proposed a detailed budget. I send up my budget man to the Congress and he says here's how we're going to reduce the deficit in half by five years, it requires pro-growth policies that grow our economy and fiscal sanity in the halls of Congress.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Kerry is not credible as a fiscal conservative

KERRY: I'm going to restore what we did in the 1990s: pay as you go. We're going to do it like you do it. The president broke the pay-as-you-go rule.

BUSH: He's just not credible when he talks about being fiscally conservative. If you look at his record in the Senate, he voted to break the spending caps over 200 times. And of course he's going to raise your taxes. You see, he's proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending. He says he's going to raise the taxes on the rich-that raises $800 billion. Now, either he's going to break all these wonderful promises he's told you about or he's going to raise taxes. And I suspect, given his record, he's going to raise taxes.

KERRY: In 1985, I was one of the first Democrats to move to balance the budget. I vote for the balanced budget in '93 and '97. We did it. And I was there.

BUSH: Yes, he's got a record. You can run, but you can't hide. He voted 98 times to raise taxes. It's just not credible to say he's going to keep taxes down and balance budgets.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Kerry will not be able to pay for $2.2T in new spending

BUSH: Kerry's proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending. How are you going to pay for it? He said well, he's going to raise the taxes on the rich. That's what he said. The top two brackets. That raises, he says, $800 billion. We say $600 billion. We've got battling green eyeshades. Somewhere in between those numbers. And so there's a difference - what he's promised and what he can raise. The way to grow this economy is to keep taxes low, is have an energy plan, is to have litigation reform.

KERRY: The figures of $2.2 trillion just aren't accurate. Those are the fuzzy math figures put together by some group that works for the campaign. Number two, John McCain and I have a proposal jointly for a commission that closes corporate giveaway loopholes. We got $40 billion going to Bermuda. We got all kinds of giveaways. We ought to be shutting those down.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Bush ties growing economy to his tax cuts

Bush noted that a record 68 percent of Americans own their own homes. He also cited relatively low inflation and a rise in manufacturing. "Our economy is growing," said Bush. "It's strong and getting stronger." Bush tied what he described as a growing economy to his series of tax cuts -- including a boost in the child tax credit and breaks for small businesses -- and he called on Congress to make them permanent.
Source: CNN.com Mar 26, 2004

Investment and aid to states will help economy rebound

Encouraging job-creating investment in America's businesses by providing dividend and capital gains tax relief and giving small businesses incentives to grow and providing $20 billion in aid to States for necessary services
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 29, 2003

Provides assistance to new small businesses

Every small business owner who purchases equipment to grow and expand will get assistance through an increase in the expensing limits from $25,000 to $100,000.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 29, 2003

Reframed Clinton from economic prosperity to moral failing

Bush's first challenge [at the 2000 Convention] was to explain why voters should vote against incumbents after eight years of prosperity. The Democrats had lost in 1984 & 1988 by denying that the prosperity of the 80s was real. Bush avoided that mistake. He acknowledged the prosperity-and then changed the subject to the moral failings of the people who had presided over it. "For 8 years, the Clinton/Gore administration has coasted through prosperity. And the path of least resistance is always downhill. But America's way is the rising road.... My generation tested limits-and our country, in some ways, is better for it. At times, we lost our way. But we are coming home." Conservatives had attacked the baby boomers for producing Bill Clinton; Bush sorrowfully reproached Clinton for betraying the boomers. "Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents. So much charm. Such great skill. But, in the end, to what end? So much promise, to no great purpose."
Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, chapter 1 Jun 1, 2003

Restore consumer confidence with tax cuts & new oil supplies

First things first. We’ve got to restore consumer confidence. We can help in Washington by returning tax money to the people who pay the bills this year. We can restore investor confidence by building a better business environment for years to come, starting with having a realistic, sound energy policy -- a policy that says, of course, we can conserve better, but we need to aggressively seek new supplies. We need an aggressive, forward-thinking energy policy that balances the needs of our environment with the needs of the people of the country.

We can also help by having a world of free trade. One of the concerns is if the economy were to slow down like ours, the protectionist sentiments around America might start bubbling to the surface. Ours is an administration dedicated to free trade. Free trade is good for America. And, finally, we need to have lower taxes, instead of bigger government.

Source: White House speech to high-tech leaders Mar 28, 2001

Despite prosperity, “It’s time for a change” in Washington

Bush said despite that current prosperity, “It’s time for a change” in Washington. “Some say [the economy] is doing pretty well - well it may be,” he said. But “People need more money in their pocket, as far as I’m concerned.” Presenting a Tampa family, he said his plan for a tax cut would slice nearly 50 percent off their tax bill, and criticized Gore for planning only smaller cuts.
Source: William March, The Tampa (FL) Tribune Oct 26, 2000

Prosperity results from entrepreneurship & ingenuity

BUSH (to Gore): I think the economy has meant more for the Gore and Clinton folks than the Gore and Clinton folks has meant for the economy. I think most of the economic growth that has taken place is a result of ingenuity and hard work and entrepreneurship. And that’s the role of government, is to encourage that.

GORE: I think that the American people deserve credit for the great economy that we have. And it’s their ingenuity. I agree with that. But they were working pretty hard eight years ago, and they had ingenuity eight years ago. The difference is, we’ve got a new policy. Look, we have gone from the biggest deficits to the biggest surpluses; we’ve gone from a triple dip recession during the previous 12 years to a tripling of the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, we’ve got the lowest African-American and lowest Latino unemployment rates ever in history, and 22 million new jobs.

Source: (X-ref Gore) Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Private sector responsible for economic boom

Bush flatly rejected the contention from Clinton and Gore that their economic policies, particularly the 1993 deficit-reduction package that passed Congress solely on Democratic votes, had contributed to the nation’s boom times. “I think the economy has grown really in spite of government. This is an incredible period of time when productivity has been enhanced, not because of any great initiative of government, but because of the ability for entrepreneurs to stake a new claim.”
Source: Ronald Brownstein, LA Times Aug 13, 2000

Make budget biennial; reinstate line-item veto; target pork

“If the discord in Washington never seems to end, it’s because the budget process never seems to end,” Bush said. He decried an environment of “too much polling and not enough decision-making.” Bush proposed revamping the federal budget process to shift from an annual to a biennial exercise and to require the president and Congress to agree on spending targets early in the process, to prevent government shutdowns.

Bush also said he would target wasteful spending by restoring a version of the line-item veto and installing a commission to recommend pork-barrel projects for elimination. [Bush proposes] devoting the off-year in the biennial budget process to examining which government programs should be eliminated.

House and Senate members said Bush’s ideas would get a respectful hearing on Capitol Hill, although proposals requiring Congress to relinquish power over the nation’s purse strings likely would encounter resistance.

Source: Dana Milbane, Washington Post, p. A1 Jun 9, 2000

$46B in new spending on health, education, & defense

George W. Bush may be inventing a different species of politician: a tax-cut-and-spend Republican. So far this week, Bush has proposed new spending that would total about $46 billion over five years, most of it for health care. Yesterday, he recommended a $4.3 billion program, mostly to expand community health services in remote and urban areas. Earlier, he called for $13 billion in new education spending, a defense plan that requires at least $25 billion in new spending--perhaps more. And he’s not through. Aides say Bush will use the coming months to outline more of his domestic policy views and, likely, additional spending for health care and other problems. Democrats say Bush has overestimated the projected surpluses, significantly underestimated the size of his tax cut, and has not factored into his fiscal equation plans to privatize part of the Social Security system and has yet to outline a single significant cut in current spending.
Source: Dan Balz and Terry M. Neal, Washington Post Apr 13, 2000

New Prosperity Initiative: remove obstacles to advancement

Source: Fact Sheet: “New Prosperity Initiative/Renewing America” Apr 11, 2000

Simplify tax code to stimulate economic growth

Bush said he would present a plan for a flatter and simpler tax code. He said the principal goal of his tax plan is to stimulate economic growth and productivity. A second goal is to return government surpluses to taxpayers, once ‘basic needs’ of society have been met.
Source: (Cross-ref to Tax Reform) Dan Balz, The Washington Post Apr 25, 1999

George W. Bush on Budget Deficit

Haven't vetoed any spending bills because we work together

Q: Please explain how the spending you have approved and not paid for is better for the American people than the spending proposed by Kerry.

A: We have a deficit because this country went into a recession. You might remember the stock market started to climb dramatically six months before I came to office, and then the bubble of the 1990s popped. That cost us revenue. Secondly, we're at war. And I'm going to spend what it takes to win the war, more than just $120 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. We've got to pay our troops more. We've increased money for ammunition and weapons and pay. And homeland security. We went from 10 billion to $30 billion to protect the homeland. And plus we cut taxes for everybody. Everybody got tax relief, so as to get out of the recession. If you raise taxes during a recession, you had the depression. I proposed a plan, detailed budget that shows us cutting the deficit in half by five years. And you're right, I haven't vetoed any spending bills because we work together.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Will cut the deficit in half in the next 5 years

We should limit the burden of government on this economy by acting as good stewards of taxpayers' dollars. In two weeks, I will send you a budget that funds the war, protects the homeland and meets important domestic needs, while limiting the growth in discretionary spending to less than 4 percent. This will require that Congress focus on priorities, cut wasteful spending and be wise with the people's money. By doing so, we can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

Fact Check: Deficit didn't exist at end of Clinton term

FACTCHECK on the Federal Deficit: The President promised to curb deficit spending, but said nothing about where the deficits come from.

BUSH: We can cut the deficit in half over the next five years.

FACTCHECK: Not mentioned: The projected federal surplus at the end of Bill Clinton's term have now turned to a projected federal deficit of $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, due to Bush's two large tax cuts, large increases in federal spending, and an economic downturn. Also not mentioned: A 12.3% rise in discretionary federal spending last fiscal year followed by a 9% rise this fiscal year, as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

Source: FactCheck.org on the 2004 State of the Union address Jan 20, 2004

Proposes to shrink federal budget to 16% of GDP

A good way to measure the actual size of government is to compare total federal spending to the Gross Domestic Product or GDP. Under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the ratio was about 22% -- the federal budget was 22% of the nation’s GDP. Under President Clinton, the ratio fell to 18%. President George W. Bush’s proposed budget would drop the ratio further to 16%.
Source: National Public Radio News Mar 12, 2001

Cut national debt by $2T in 10 years; leave $1.2T in debt

President Bush’s budget plan will seek to put the nation on a course to pay off $2 trillion of the national debt over the next 10 years, leaving $1.2 trillion of debt at the end of that period. After several years of bipartisan consensus about the desirability of extinguishing as much debt as quickly as possible, with the goal of bringing it to zero in a decade or a little longer, Bush will say that bringing it below $1.2 trillion in that period, much less wiping it out entirely, will be all but impossible.

Bush’s budget plan will conclude that the national debt held by the public. White House officials said their position is not the result of a political or a policy decision, but a reflection of the fact that a portion of the debt in the form of a variety of bonds is not easily redeemable, either because it would be too expensive to do so or because its holders would be unwilling to part with it.

Source: Richard Stevenson, NY Times Feb 27, 2001

Too much government spending will end prosperity

Gore offers an old and tired approach. He offers a new federal spending program to nearly every voting bloc. He expands entitlements, without reforms to sustain them. 285 new or expanded programs, and $2 trillion more in new spending. Spending without discipline, spending without priorities, and spending without an end. Al Gore’s massive spending would mean slower growth and higher taxes. And it could mean an end to this nation’s prosperity.
Source: Speech in Minneapolis, Minnesota Nov 1, 2000

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts