The War on Spending, Going About as Well as the War on Terror


Today, George W. Bush becomes the first president to submit a $3 trillion budget. Actually, the factoid is better than that:

Bush, who was the first president to propose a $2 trillion budget, back in 2002, will leave office as the first president to hit $3 trillion with a spending plan.

I'm with Jim Antle: "Boy, it's a good thing we have Republican presidents keeping federal spending under control." Here's where the money is going.

The sharp jump in the deficits reflects, in part, a proposed economic stimulus plan of around $145 billion. Bush is urging Congress to pass it quickly as a way of getting tax rebates to households this summer in hopes of preventing a full-blown recession.

As in past years, Bush's biggest proposed increases are in national security. Defense spending is projected to rise by about 7 percent, to $515 billion, and homeland security money by almost 11 percent, with a big gain for border security. Details on the budget were obtained through interviews with administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity until the budget's release.

The bulk of government programs for which Congress sets annual spending levels would remain essentially frozen at current levels. The president does shower extra money on some favored programs in education and to bolster inspections of imported food, following last year's high-profile recalls of tainted products coming from China.

The cuts come from health care, a Christmas-worthy gift to Democrats running for office next year. John McCain's own spending plans won't actually look much different than this. Yes, he'll pledge to veto budgets until they strip out the pork projects. But any of those savings will be wiped out by the "larger and more capable military" and the missile defense he wants to buy. And he seems completely convinced that voters in 2006 were angrier about the Bridge to Nowhere than they were about Iraq.