George W. Bush on Budget & Economy

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

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

Claims of Gore’s spending are based on inflated figures

Bush charged that Gore’s spending proposals are three times what Clinton proposed in 1992. But back then, federal spending was constrained by the federal deficit, which has been wiped out during Clinton’s terms.

While Bush is correct that Gore’s spending proposals exceed his, the combination of Bush’s spending plans and tax cuts would eat up more of the surplus than Gore would with his more modest tax cut and his larger spending plans.

To further complicate matters, Bush said Gore’s spending proposals are greater than the combination of what Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis proposed in 1984 and 1988, respectively. However, it appears Bush arrived at the number by using inflation-adjusted spending proposals and comparing them with estimates of Gore’s spending plans prepared by partisan groups such as the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Commitee. Gore’s total spending, according to the campaign, would be about $88 billion a year, not the $127 billion the Bush camp contends.

Source: Boston Globe analysis of St. Louis debate Oct 18, 2000

Claim of Gore’s 20,000 new bureaucrats is unlikely

BUSH: “Under Gore’s plan, we’re talking about. adding 20,000 new bureaucrats.”

ANALYSIS: Bush is basing his claims on a partisan report by the Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee. To get their numbers, they applied today’s ratio of employees to expenditures to their own estimates of Gore’s budget. The assumption-that more spending means more employees-DOESN“T NECESSARILY FOLLOW. In fact, during the 1990s, spending went up (by 38%) while the federal work force went down (by 12%).

Source: Presidential Debate, Boston Globe, “Number Crunch”, p. A15 Oct 11, 2000

Claim of 1/4 for important projects is overestimate

BUSH: I want to dedicate 1/2 of the surplus to Social Security, 1/4 for important projects, and send 1/4 back to the people who pay the bills.

ANALYSIS: Bush’s $475 billion in spending initiatives would incur $100 billion in interest costs because that money won’t be used to pay down the debt. Adding that to his total, he’s really spending roughly $575 billion or 13% of the surplus on “important projects.” That’s SIGNIFCANTLY LESS than the “1/4 of the surplus” that he claimed. And his $1.3 trillion tax cut, plus the $300 billion interest cots it would require, would eat up about 35% of the available surplus, a LOT MORE than the 1/4 he claims.

Bush’s ideal fractionsMore realistic numbers
50% for Social Security52% for Social Security
25% for important projects13% for important projects
25% back to people who pay bills35% back to people who pay bills
Source: Presidential Debate, Boston Globe, “Number Crunch”, p. A15 Oct 11, 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

Federal government should stay out of the marketplace

I was deeply concerned about the drift toward a more powerful federal government. I was particularly outraged by two pieces of legislation, the Natural Gas Policy Act and the Fuel Use Act. It seemed to me that elite central planners were determining the course of our nation. Allowing the government to dictate the price of natural gas was a move toward European-style socialism. If the federal government was going to take over the natural gas business, what would it set its sights on next?
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.172-173 Dec 9, 1999

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

More job training; R&D tax credits

Gov. Bush supports the following principles concerning the economy and employment.
  • Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion
  • Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today’s job market.Bush notes that he “proposed tax credits for companies to invest in research and development and a franchise tax cut for small business.”
    Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

    George W. Bush on Budget Surplus

    Surest way to bust economy is Gore’s enlarged government

    BUSH [to Gore]: The surest way to bust this economy is to increase the role and the size of the federal government. The Senate Budget Committee did a study of Gore’s expenditures: it could conceivably bust the budget by $900 billion. That means he’s either going to have to raise your taxes by $900 billion or go into the Social Security surplus for $900 billion.

    GORE: What he’s quoting is not the Senate Budget Committee, it is a partisan press release by the Republicans. And as for the surest way to threaten our prosperity, having a $1.9 trillion tax cut, almost half of which goes to the wealthy, and a $1 trillion Social Security privatization proposal, is the surest way to put our budget into deficit, raise interest rates and put our prosperity at risk.

    BUSH: I can’t let the man continue with fuzzy math. It’s $1.3 trillion, Mr. Vice President. And it’s going to go to everybody who pays taxes. I’m not going to be a pick-and-chooser. What is fair is everybody who pays taxes ought to get relief.

    Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

    Don’t let Gore bring back big government; 200 new programs

    Bush painted Gore on as a big spender who would bring back the era of expansive government and threaten prosperity. “He is proposing the largest increase in federal spending in 35 years.” He said Gore was proposing more than 200 new or expanded federal programs that would result in an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 new federal employees. He said there would be 412 new Medicare regulations and more audits of taxpayers. “All this could amount to over $2 trillion in bigger government in 10 years.”
    Source: AP Story, NY Times Sep 28, 2000

    Bush’s budget: $265B left of surplus after 10 years

    Bush Budget 2001-2010 ($Billion)
    Surplus Amount
    Total Surplus4,563
    Social Security Lock Box(2,388)
    On-Budget Surplus2,173
    Tax Cuts and Spending
    Tax Plan1,317.0
    Medicare Rx & Reform198.3
    Defense 45.0
    Crime & Ot Domestic8.5
    Savings from Gov’t Reform (196.4)
    Interest Cost312.5
    Total Tax Cuts & Spending1,907.7
    Source: Press Release, “Budget Numbers” Sep 5, 2000

    Gore: Feds spend surplus; Bush: taxpayers spend it

    Source: Bruce Bartlett, Editorial, NY Times, p. A27 Aug 22, 2000

    Spend $586B surplus on tax cuts, health, & defense

    Budget surplus:Bush proposalsGore proposals
    Estimate for 2002-2006$586 billion$164 billion
    Estimate for 2001-2010No estimate made $746 billion
    Economic assumptionsUses lower estimates of Congressional spending & 2.7% annual growthAssumes spending will grow at the rate of inflation; 2.6% annual growth
    How surplus would be used
    For fiscal years2002-20062001-2010
    Tax cuts$483 billion; total $1.3 trillion by 2010$250 billion, includes some of Clinton’s FY2000 proposals
    Some major spending proposals
  • $46 billion for health care
  • $13 billion for education
  • $25 billion for defense
  • $64 billion to pay down the national debt
  • $432 billion for Medicare
  • $146 billion for health insurance
  • Source: NY Times, p. 22 Apr 30, 2000

    10-year surplus: $2T Social Security; $1T debt; $1T tax cut

    I believe we’ve got $4 trillion [in surpluses available] over 10 years; $2 trillion of which will go to save Social Security and pay down debt; $1 trillion available for debt repayment and other programs and $1 trillion, over a 10-year period, for a meaningful, substantial, real tax cut to the people.
    Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

    Use presidential power to get money away from Congress

    McCAIN [to Bush]: You seem to depict the role of the president as a hapless bystander. [Clinton] is threatening to shut down the government and vetoing bills to force the congress to spend more money. An active president, i.e. me, will veto bills and threaten to shut down the government to make them spend less money.

    Bush: It’s the president’s job to make sure Congress doesn’t have the money to spend in the first place. It is the president’s job to stand up to express the will of the people, advocate and fight for a meaningful real tax cut. And that’s what I’m going to do.

    Source: (X-ref from McCain) GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

    Supports Balanced Budget Amendment

    Gov. Bush stated that he would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget.
    Source: Vote Smart NPAT 1998 Jul 2, 1998

    George W. Bush on Oil & Energy

    Clarify rules to allow for more nuclear power generation

    Q: Should the US increase its use of nuclear power as part of a strategy to come closer to energy independence?

    A: Nuclear power plays an important role in meeting the energy needs of the New Economy, supplying over 20% of electricity consumed. As part of my energy policy, I would clarify IRS rules to make it easier for companies that specialize in operating nuclear power plants to purchase them from companies that do not. My overall energy policy also includes using diplomatic leverage, working with our allies, OPEC, and other oil-producing countries to ensure greater stability in world oil markets. I will also encourage greater exploration at home including opening the ANWR up to environmentally responsible exploration. We must also develop our natural gas resources, which are clean-burning and hemispheric in nature, not subject to whims of OPEC. I will also promote renewable sources of energy as part of my agenda because the New Economy is very electric-intensive.

    Source: Associated Press Oct 16, 2000

    Better to drill ANWR than import oil from Saddam Hussein

    GORE (to Bush): Gov.Bush is proposing to open up some of our most precious environmental treasures, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to the big oil companies to go in and start producing oil there. I think that is the wrong choice. It would only give us a few months worth of oil, and the oil wouldn’t start flowing for many years into the future. I don’t think it’s a fair price to pay, to destroy precious parts of America’s environment.

    BUSH: We need an active exploration program in America. The only way to become less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil is to explore at home. And you bet I want to open up a small part of Alaska because when that field is online, it will produce a million barrels a day. Today we import a million barrels from Saddam Hussein. I would rather that a million come from our own hemisphere, our own country, as opposed from Saddam Hussein.

    Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

    Replenish energy supplies with new domestic coal & pipelines

    Q: What is your energy policy?

    GORE [to Bush]: We have to free ourselves from big oil, from OPEC. We have to give new incentives for the development of resources, like deep gas in the western Gulf, but also renewable sources of energy and domestic sources that are cleaner and better. I’m proposing a plan that will give tax incentives for the rapid development of new kinds of cars, trucks, buses, factories, boilers, and furnaces that don’t have as much pollution.

    BUSH: I want to build pipelines to move natural gas. I want to develop coal resources. It’s an issue I know a lot about. I was a small oil person for a while. This is an administration that’s had no plan. And now, the results of having no plan have caught up with America. We’ve got abundant supplies of energy here, and we better start exploring it. There’s an interesting issue up in the Northwest, as well. And that is whether or not we remove dams that propose hydroelectric energy. I’m against removing dams in the Northwest.

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

    Use ANWR fees for alternative energy and home oil help

    [Under Bush’s plan for drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], the federal government would get up-front fees from oil companies that wanted to bid to explore the refuge, and eventually get royalties from oil and gas that was found. Bush said he would direct part of this money to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program-perhaps as much as $1 billion over 10 years, Bush said. We would also start a Royalties for Conservation Fund, which would use money from Arctic drilling to “protect the environment and develop alternative energy sources,” including wind and solar power. He said that could total $1.2 billion over 10 years.

    The energy proposals offered by Bush today, some of which are new and some of which he had unveiled earlier, total $7.1 billion over 10 years. Of that, $3.1 billion would come from new revenue, including royalties and bid fees.

    Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A7 Oct 1, 2000

    Look for oil in US rather than tap into emergency reserves

    Bush assailed Gore’s suggestion as “bad public policy,” and accused the vice president of trying to manipulate a national strategic asset for political purposes. The reserves are “an insurance policy meant for sudden disruptions of the oil supply. It should not be used for political gain at the expense of national security.” Rather, plans must be implemented to make the United States less dependent on oil imports. “I would like to aggressively explore our own continent for oil and natural gas.”
    Source: Sep 21, 2000

    Explore ANWR; explore for gas; reduce foreign dependence

    Our country better become less dependent on foreign crude, that’s why I’m for the exploration of ANWR, that’s why I’m for the exploration of natural gas, which is hemispheric. It’s not subject to price. In the meantime, I support the congressional attempt to fund LIHEAP, which is that low-income heating assistance program.
    Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

    Wean from oil, via electric deregulation & natural gas

    I did something in Texas and that’s decontrol our electricity system, to invite a different type of demand into the equation into Texas. In other words, you’re focusing on the supply side, I think we need to wean ourselves off of foreign oil and rely upon other products and in my state of Texas we’re doing that. We’ve got a huge demand for natural gas, which as you know is immune from OPEC and immune from overseas pricing controls.
    Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

    Other candidates on Budget & Economy: George W. Bush on other issues:
    George W. Bush
    Dick Cheney
    Al Gore
    Bill Clinton
    Jesse Ventura
    Ross Perot
    Ralph Nader
    Pat Buchanan
    John McCain
    Civil Rights
    Foreign Policy
    Free Trade
    Govt. Reform
    Gun Control
    Health Care
    School Choice
    Social Security
    Tax Reform
    War & Peace