George W. Bush

The Lie Obama Can't Stop Telling: Bush Cut Regulation and Education Spending!


Bush's merciless gutting of education investments is exactly why Teddy Kennedy hated his…oh wait.

Your president said this last night:

Between 2001 and 2009 […] a very specific philosophy reigned in Washington: You cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires; you cut regulations for special interests; you cut back on investments in education and clean energy, in research and technology. The idea was if we put blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everybody to fend for themselves, America would grow and America would prosper.

That was the philosophy that was put forward. For eight years, we tried that. And that experiment failed miserably.

Important note: Obama is full of shit.

Between 2001 and 2009 George W. Bush did not "cut back on investments in education," he increased them by 58 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. Regulations? "The Bush team has spent more taxpayer money on issuing and enforcing regulations than any previous administration in U.S. history," Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy wrote in January 2009, in a piece that should be distributed to every audience member before an Obama speech. More from that:

Of the new rules, 159 are "economically significant," meaning they will cost at least $100 million a year. That's a 10 percent increase in the number of high-cost rules since 2006, and a 70 percent increase since 2001. And at the end of 2007, another 3,882 rules were already at different stages of implementation, 757 of them targeting small businesses.

Overall, the final outcome of this Republican regulation has been a significant increase in regulatory activity and cost since 2001. The number of pages added to the Federal Register, which lists all new regulations, reached an all-time high of 78,090 in 2007, up from 64,438 in 2001.


Between fiscal year 2001 and fiscal year 2009, outlays on regulatory activities, adjusted for inflation, increased from $26.4 billion to an estimated $42.7 billion, or 62 percent. By contrast, President Clinton increased real spending on regulatory activities by 31 percent, from $20.1 billion in 1993 to $26.4 billion in 2001. […]

The data also show that, adjusted for inflation, expenditures for the category of finance and banking were cut by 3 percent during the Clinton years and rose 29 percent from 2001 to 2009, making it hard to argue that Bush deregulated the financial sector. […]

In eight years, Bush increased the federal government's regulatory staff by 91,196 employees. Clinton cut it by 969.

It's a comforting narrative, this idea that rapacious cajillionaires dismantled the federal government for eight years, until the man on the white unicorn came to restore dignity to the White House. But it has never, ever been true. The president really should stop lying to the American people, but he won't.

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  1. For eight years, we tried that. And that experiment failed miserably.

    Must be election season.

    Important note: Obama is full of shit.

    *shocked face*

    1. Important note: Obama is full of shit.

      Important note: Obama is full of shit.

      Important note: Obama is full of shit.

      Important note: Obama is full of shit.

    2. Almost all of that education spending increase was wasted on Bush’s No Child Left Behind pet project. Its like claiming building one 20 billion dollar bridge is increasing the budget of the DOT overall by 20 billion.

  2. But who will call him on it? Certainly not the Republicans. Just a few libertarians, shouting into the hurricane.
    This is one of the reasons I think Bush was worse than Obama — the destruction of the “free market” brand.

    1. So Johnson, Carter, and Clinton spend less than Nixon, Reagan, and GHW? How did Repubs get the ‘free market’ brand in the first place?

      Liberals used to spend, less?

      1. Used to spend less ON REGULATION.

        Important distinction

      2. It’s very easy for people to fall into the folly of balance sheet accounting in the government.

        So lots of Republicans have fallen into the folly of “we won’t increase direct government spending, we’ll just achieve the same goal cheaper through regulation.” Democrats have been more willing to do explicit spending.

        But in reality it’s only cheaper in a limited budget sense; the costs of regulation are hidden off budget, but no less real. (Similar to the distortions from not counting homemakers in GDP, though most homemakers prefer that to being taxed on imputed income.)

  3. The sad thing is that as bad as Bush was at raising spending he will look like a piker next to Obama by the time Barack is done with the federal checkbook.

  4. Reagan 2 is so much better than Reagan 1. Bush knocks it outta the park.

  5. RACIST!

  6. The thing is, even his supporters are getting sick of his lies. The Daily Show over the last few weeks has been savaging him. I mean just beating the shit out of him for lying, doing nothing he said, and more. And he just keeps on doing it. It’s like it’s all he knows (shocked face). He really is a one-trick pony.

    1. Epi- are you being serious or sarcastic? I only watch 1-2 DS’s per week, and they’re 90%+ about Fox News. Am I just missing the good ones?

      1. I’m being serious. There have been several nights where they spent the first 5-10 minutes of the show attacking Obama. Now, I’m playing Borderlands at the same time, so my attention isn’t perfect, but they are undeniably becoming very critical of Obama. I tend to tune the Fox News shit out, too.

        1. The Pirate Bay delivered Borderlands to me the other day. It’s quite fun, although Civ5 won’t let me play it now.

          1. You’re playing a strategy game over a first person action RPG with random drops? You really are a monster.

            1. OK, I’ll play Borderlands, dude. In…just…one…more…turn…

              1. This. I managed to only spend 2 hours playing after I said ‘just one more turn’ last night.

              2. This is why I don’t play Civ any more. I’ve realized that I have no power over my addiction, and that only a higher power can help me. You should try Civilization Anonymous, Warty. I’d be willing to be your sponsor. CA helps a lot of people. But you have to be willing to give yourself over to a higher power (which isn’t Sid Meier).

                1. Sid Meier is more evil than Hitler squared, dude. I know for a fact that CA is full of his spies. You don’t want the Sidstapo to notice you.


                    I WANT IT

                    1. I’ve got it. It’s very empire-based (and a lot, lot less city-based) than previous versions. If you like to say “make it so” and buy stuff, you’ll love the new one. If you were a city min/maxer, you’ll hate it with a passion.

                  2. Did you know Sid is the founder of Civilizentology?

            2. Epi, have you played Demon’s Souls, speaking of first person action RPGs with random drops? PS3 only, though.

              1. I beat it once, started on new game +, and quit. it just got a bit too hard, I’m not that good.

          2. Starcraft 2 takes ALL my time,

            Diamond rank here I come !

        2. Has John Stewart had Goolsby on lately for another fellate-o-thon infomercial for the Obama Administration?

        3. PC or Console Borderlands? If on PC, let’s play sometime!!!

        4. Epi – did you ever end up coming across any pearlescent weapons in Borderlands? After 100+ hours of game time, I’ve yet to find one.

        5. Epi – did you ever find any pearlescent weapons in Borderlands? After 100+ hours of game time, I’ve yet to find one.

    2. One-trick pony = one term prez?
      We can hope.

      1. Careful what you wish for.

        Can you say “Romney-Huckabee”?

        1. Palin-Kasich?

          1. Kasich? He’s actually making noises about eliminating the state income tax. I’m actually tempted to cast my first R vote ever for him this election. I probably will pull the lever for the no-name L, but still…

        2. In all honesty that’s better than Huck-Rom.
          Romney in a way is a blank slate. If he runs (and somewhat sticks to) this mythical ‘small gov’ conservatism platform, wouldn’t be all bad.
          I also doubt these two would be matched up, who’s reallyu the 1st banana?
          Romney and say Jindal or a Palin type seems more likely.

          But yes, Huckster IS a nightmare. I may just consider moving la familia out of country.

          1. Romney does not scare me nearly as much as Huck, Sarah and Newt. Even though he is something of a blank slate, his psychology is easy to decipher. His overwhelming desire is to be perceived as a competent leader and though no true believer in much of anything, the best way to prove your competence after 2012 is to be the exact opposite of the doofus in charge right now.

          2. >Romney in a way is a blank slate.

            Where I come from, he’s what we’d call an “empty suit”.


    3. Say whatever you want about the man, Episiach, he will beat George W. Bush in the 2012 election.

      1. Episiarch. Sorry. Episiach is my accountant.

        1. Were they as hairy as Steve Smith….

  7. W increased regulatory staff by 100,000 employees? That must count TSA as regulatory staff, right?

    The more apposite comparison is how non-homeland-security regulation fared, although I suspect even then, Bush porked it up.

    1. I think the majority was TSA, yes, though I assume Sarbanes-Oxley and McCain-Feingold (among others) required some additional staffing.

      1. Here’s the rub for Team Obama.

        They want to hold the Bush years accountable for the deficit spending (including all that Homeland Security stuff), but not count any of the regulation/staff/enforcement that went along with them.

        There are two sides to that fence, and you can’t play both of them.

        Unless you are the Anointed One, and you never get called on it.

  8. So the Reagan cultists are at least half right. How much of term 2 is teh DEA.

    1. Half. The other half were CIA and NSA agents who went to foreign countries to show them how to run their drug wars.

      When they weren’t running their own side ops for “working capital”, of course.

  9. “The Lie Obama Can’t Stop Telling: Bush Cut Regulation and Education Spending!

    Obviously, if you want to increase spending and regulation, you have to claim that your predecessor cut it.

  10. Sometimes I wish the Republicans were what the Democrats seem to think they are. This reminds me of when the Democrats put out the “Republican Tea Party Contract on America.” The proposals in there were actually a lot better than the proposals in the Republicans’ lame and idiotic “Pledge to America.”

    The lie that Bush “cut regulations” is just as ridiculous as the conservative lie that Obama has “cut defense spending.” I wish!

  11. So what age are we in? What will the historians call this period? The Age of Narcissism? Certainly. But I believe, at least politically if not philosophically, we’re in The Age of Liars. Just about everyone does it, either willfully (politicians) or through lazy ignorance (news media) or through sheer partisan malice and hatred (news media, blog commentators). Everyone knows it, and just about everyone shrugs and accepts it. Lying has become just another life strategy.

    1. I vote for The Age of Consensus. The final outcome of PoMoism is that as long as the right-thinkers form a consensus on something, the actual truth of the matter is irrelevant. Fucking historically ignorant sophists.

    2. It’s one of the most frustrating things about the U.S. today. We’ve always been lied to, but now getting caught seems to be an opportunity for advancement, not a career-ending move.

    3. So what age are we in? What will the historians call this period?

      I’m hoping it’s not “The Final Collapse of the Republic.”

      1. Part of me hopes it is. I’d rather handle TEOTWAKI than be an old man watching my children struggle with it.

        1. Except that what succeeds the American Republic may not be chaos or fragmentation but an expansionistic empire. After all, we may experience an economic and political collapse while still retaining the military superpower status.

          1. We’ve already got an expansionist empire. That’s been the case for a very long time.


    4. The Age of Anxiety.

      Don’t worry, Dr Obama and his Regulators will take care of it.

    5. I’d call it ‘The Age of Bullshit’.

  12. I love how they re-write history. It is like Sarbanes Oxley or NCLB never happened. And also I didn’t know Bush was God Emperor of the country who could make laws without them passing Congress.

    1. Bush tried.

      National Security Agency wiretaps, etc.

      1. So he was wiretapping his political opponents like Johnson and Nixon?


        1. I guess we won’t know how extensive the wiretapping was, or would not have known had Bush his druthers.

          1. All of the stuff Kennedy and Johnson did came out in the end. If Bush had actually been wiretapping his political enemies, Congress or the Obama administration would have found out about it. And they have chosen not to reveal this fact out of kindness I guess.

            Or maybe Obama hasn’t said anything because he is too busy leaking the Koch’s tax records to the media.

            1. It seems Congress and Obama abdicated the role of looking into that when they decided to be “forward looking and not past oriented”.

              1. Actually, they abdicated that role immediately after 9/11 when they were briefed on what was going on but decided that they would be privately in favor of it but publicly “shocked, shocked” when it came out.

                Congress knew what was going on, they were briefed on waterboarding and everything. They just preferred to wash their hands of it while still not wanting to stop it (in case something happened.)

                1. In fairness wasn’t it just a handful of them briefed?

                2. I think John’s right about this one. It’s highly unlikely that all of those Captain Renaults weren’t briefed about quite a bit of the awful stuff that was going on, especially in the first year or two after 9/11.

            2. “Or maybe Obama hasn’t said anything because he is too busy leaking the Koch’s tax records to the media.”

              Nah, I think it was in that note Bush left for him, “From 43 to 44”

              “My Dearest Barack,
              I’ve done a lot of fucked-up things the last eight years, but I wanted to set you straight: Whatever you find out about me or my folks you just keep that shit to yourself if you want the next guy to keep quiet about you. Each hand washes the other’s back of the next hands that does the washing… uh, whatever, you know what I mean.

              I’m going now to get some tacos. Tacos are good.
              – W”

    2. Never go full sandworm.

      1. That’s for sure. Long life, but no sex.

  13. I used to think that leaders could get away with this kind of thing only in countries where government controlled the media.

    1. I still think that.

  14. In DC “cut” has long meant “did not spend as much as I would have liked.” Get with the times people!

    1. “…did not increase spending as much as I would have liked.”

  15. Historical education spending in Billions:


    1990 $40.02 0.69%
    1991 $44.34 0.74%
    1992 $46.30 0.73%
    1993 $51.34 0.77%
    1994 $47.47 0.67%
    1995 $54.87 0.74%
    1996 $52.52 0.67%
    1997 $53.33 0.64%
    1998 $56.28 0.64%
    1999 $56.12 0.60%
    2000 $59.71 0.60%
    2001 $63.77 0.62%
    2002 $77.69 0.73%
    2003 $90.25 0.81%
    2004 $96.13 0.81%
    2005 $106.16 0.84%
    2006 $127.29 0.95%
    2007 $101.36 0.72%
    2008 $102.53 0.71%
    2009 $91.25 0.64%
    2010 $156.48 1.07%
    2011 $140.75 0.92%
    2012 $131.25 0.81%
    2013 $135.74 0.79%
    2014 $141.90 0.78%

    By Obama’s own out-year budget projection, Education spending will be cut in ’11 and again in ’12. So fuck him and his rhetoric.

    1. 2014 is historical? Man did I oversleep!

  16. In fairness it is at least conceptually possible to say regulations were cut for special interest at the same time that the pages of the federal register or outlays on enforcement increased. Not exactly the same thing, though certainly reasonable indicators…

    1. In fairness it is at least conceptually possible to say known that regulations were cut inserted for special interests at the same time that which was part of the reason the pages of the federal register or outlays on enforcement increased.


      1. That’s a good point, and it actually supports my position here. One could weaken regulation by inserting exemptions and the result would be a growth in the pages of the register.

        1. you could also weaken regulation by creating a bunch of patronage jobs in various agencies and then not expecting them to actually do any regulating (like say the SEC ignoring madoff and MMS hijinks). Then you get the added bonus of railing against washington bureaucrats.

          1. I don’t think I like where you are going with that.

          2. If you ever ran a business during the two periods of time of Clinton and Bush, you would know without a doubt that whatever affect patronage may have had in Washington, YOUR burden in regulatory matters only increased. Which is, after all, the point.

        2. MNG,

          Companies often advocate additional regulations (not exemptions) to increase demand for their services and/or put the competition at a disadvantage. E.g., environmental regulations often grandfather in existing facilities. That puts newcomers at a disadvantage.

          About twelve years ago, I helped restart a refinery near New Orleans that had been shut down for years due to environmental and safety issues. It was much easier to get permission to restart an old dirty refinery than to build a new, presumably cleaner and safer, refinery. Somehow, I don’t think that is the outcome the environmentalists want, but preventing construction of new refineries makes old refineries more valuable.

  17. In the heat of a summer night,
    In the land of the dollar bill.
    When the man from Chicago lied
    And they talk about it still.

  18. How do you know a politician is lying?

    His lips are moving.

    How do you know that Americans are collectively stupid?

    Every time a politician speaks, we have to discuss whether or not he is lying, and we start by assuming that he’s telling the truth, even when it’s obvious he isn’t.

    1. What if a politician says he’s lying?

      1. Absolutely!

      2. The universe immediately ceases to exist, bound upon itself in an impossible paradox.

  19. As if what people hated about GW Bush was his cutting of education spending, taxes, or regulations.

    Hello? Iraq War? Guantanamo?

    1. No, no, Hazel, the war is won, and Guantanamo is necessary to protect vital Democratic interests.

  20. Important note: Obama is full of shit.

    He’s a politician, of course he’s full of shit. Fish gotta swim and pols gotta lie. I think it’s genetic.

  21. There is no discussion of education spending in the columnist’s excerpt

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