Four Years Growth

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

“The
American people have been overcharged for Government, and they
deserve a refund.” ~ President George W. Bush (The
Budget Message of the President
, 2002)

The
year 2000 Platform of the Republican Party implied that the Republican
Party
was the party that held the supposedly conservative
ideas of fiscal responsibility and smaller government:

“Since
1994, with Republicans leading the House and Senate, spending
has been held to an annual 3.1 percent rate of growth, and the
nation’s debt will be nearly $400 billion lower by the end of
this year. The federal government has operated in the black
for the last two years and is now projected to run a surplus
of nearly $5 trillion over the years.”

“We
intend to downsize this mess and make government actually do
what it is supposed to.”

“A
Republican president will run the federal government much as
the Republican governors run state agencies. Bureaucracy will
be reduced and trimmed in size at its upper echelons.”

Nothing
could be further from the truth, for as has been documented, the
idea that the Republican Party is the party of conservatism is
a myth.
The Republican Party has always been the party of big
government
, plunder,
and sellouts.
A look at the “four years growth” of the federal government
under the presidency of George Bush confirms and amplifies these
facts.

The
Republicans gained control of the Congress in the third year of
Clinton’s first term. They had complete control of the 104th
Congress (1995—1997), held on to control in the 105th
Congress (1997—1999), and remained in power during the 106th
Congress (1999—2001) through the end of Clinton’s presidency.
After George Bush was inaugurated in 2001, he had a Republican-controlled
107th Congress (2001—2003) until May 24, 2001, when Jim
Jeffords (R-VT) switched from Republican to Independent, changing
the Senate from 50/50 to 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans, and 1 Independent.
The House remained in Republican hands. The 108th Congress (2003—2005)
was once again solidly Republican, giving the Republicans an absolute
majority in Congress and the White House for the last two years
of Bush’s first term.

This
means that the Republican Party has no excuse for the size and
scope of the federal government as it exists right now. Republicans
can’t blame anything on the Democrats like they did for the fifty
years before they gained control of the Congress.

Now
that we are at the end of Bush’s first four years, a simple question
needs to be asked: Is the government at the end of Bush’s first
term in any way smaller or less expensive than the government
at the beginning of his first term. If it is, then Bush and the
Republican Party told the truth, but if it isn’t, then Bush’s
rhetoric was just hot air and the 2000 Republican Party Platform
wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.

The
Federal Budget

According
to the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president must annually
submit a budget to Congress by the first Monday in February. The
government’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.
This means that the budget submitted in February is actually for
the next fiscal year that begins in October. An outgoing president
is not required to submit a budget. And because it is not practical
for a new president, who takes office on January 20, to submit
a budget within a few days of taking office, he is given extra
time to submit a budget his first year in office. On February
28, 2001, President Bush submitted to Congress a FY 2002 summary
budget plan called A
Blueprint for New Beginnings — A Responsible Budget for
America’s Priorities
. In his message to the Congress that
begins this document, two comments by the president stand out:

  • Excessive
    taxation is corroding our prosperity.
  • Government
    spending has risen too quickly.

And
what did Bush propose to do about these things? He proposed an
increase in the federal budget from $1.856 trillion in FY 2001
to $1.959 trillion in FY 2002. That is an increase of $103 billion
over Clinton’s last budget. Then, on April 9, 2001, Bush submitted
his FY
2002 budget
to Congress. But the actual budget he proposed
was up to $1.961 trillion. “A Note to the Reader” at
the head of one of the budget’s accompanying documents, A
Citizen’s Guide to the Federal Budget
, puts this figure in
perspective: “Next year, your Federal Government will spend
nearly $2.0 trillion. Needless to say, that’s a lot of money.
In fact, that’s almost $7,000 for every man, woman, and child
in the country; nearly $5.4 billion per day; and about $3.7 million
per minute. And most of that money comes from taxes on the American
people.” But it gets worse, for according to the “Summary
of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits” in the FY
2005 budget
, the federal government actually spent $2.011
trillion in FY 2002.

In
the FY
2002 budget
, the estimate for the FY
2005 budget
(the last budget of Bush’s first term) was $2.169
trillion. But by the time this budget was actually submitted to
the Congress on February 2, 2004, it had grown to $2.4 trillion.
It was only ten years ago that the federal budget was about a
trillion dollars less than it is now. Will the federal budget
shrink or even stay the same during the next four years that Bush
is in office? The answer should be quite obvious. The projected
budget for FY 2009 is a whopping $2.853 trillion.

Finding
what to cut in the federal budget is not a difficult matter. The
series of LRC articles by Jim
Grichar
on “Cutting the Federal Budget To Prevent U.S.
Bankruptcy” should be required reading for all members of
Congress.

The
Federal Deficit

The
federal deficit is the amount by which the government’s spending
exceeds its revenues for a fiscal year. Clinton had a budget surplus
his last four years in office. When FY 2001 ended during Bush’s
first year in office (9/28/2001), there was a surplus of $127
billion. Bush turned that into a budget deficit of $157 billion
for FY 2002, $375 billion for FY 2003, and $413 billion for FY
2004. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated last September
that the
deficit for FY 2005 would be $348 billion
.

The
Federal Debt

The
federal debt is the total of all the deficits and surpluses that
the federal government runs each year. The daily change in the
debt can be seen on the website of the Treasury Department’s Bureau
of the Public Debt
. At the time of Bush’s first inauguration
in 2001, the federal debt stood at $5,727,776,738,304.64. At the
time of his second inauguration on January 20, 2005, the federal
debt stood at $7,613,772,338,689.34. Thus, the federal debt increased
almost $2 trillion under the first four years of Bush’s reign.
The federal debt at the end of the last three fiscal years is
as follows:

Fiscal
Year

Federal
Debt

FY
2002

$6,228,235,965,597.16

FY
2003

$6,783,231,062,743.62

FY
2004

$7,379,052,696,330.32

As
anyone with high credit card balances knows, maintaining a high
debt level costs a lot of money in the form of interest payments.
The interest expense for the last three fiscal years is as follows:

Fiscal
Year

Interest
Expense

FY
2002

$332,536,958,599.42

FY
2003

$318,148,529,151.51

FY
2004

$321,566,323,971.29

The
interest expense for the first three months of FY 2005 (Oct.,
Nov., & Dec.) was $120,248,160,823.07. The interest expense
on this massive debt is the third largest expense in the federal
budget.

The
Federal Bureaucracy

According
to the FY
2005 budget
, the estimated total of executive branch full-time
equivalent (FTE) federal employees (excluding postal employees)
at the end of FY 2005 is 1,875,000. This is up substantially from
the number of 1,737,000 at the end of FY 2001. The federal bureaucracy
mainly consists of the executive branch departments, the offices
under the Executive Office of the President (EOP), and other assorted
federal agencies and commissions.

Executive
Branch Departments

When
Bill Clinton was president, Republicans talked about eliminating
some executive branch departments. As usual, their actions did
not match their speech. However, at least no new departments were
added under Clinton’s rule. It is too bad that the same thing
cannot be said about no new departments being added on Bush’s
watch.

The
following is a list of the executive branch departments along
with the dates of their creation:

  • Department
    of Agriculture (1862)
  • Department
    of Commerce (1913)
  • Department
    of Defense (1947)
  • Department
    of Education (1979)
  • Department
    of Energy (1977)
  • Department
    of Health and Human Services (1979)
  • Department
    of Homeland Security (2002)
  • Department
    of Housing and Urban Development (1965)
  • Department
    of the Interior (1849)
  • Department
    of Justice (1789)
  • Department
    of Labor (1913)
  • Department
    of State (1789)
  • Department
    of Transportation (1966)
  • Department
    of the Treasury (1789)
  • Department
    of Veterans Affairs (1989)

[The
Department of Commerce was originally the Department of Commerce
and Labor (1903); the Department of Defense was originally the
Department of War (1789); the Department of Health and Human Services
was originally the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
(1953); the Department of Labor was originally the Department
of Commerce and Labor (1903)]

No
one is saying that all of these departments should be eliminated
— just the majority of them. The original four (Justice,
State, Treasury, and War) might conceivably serve some useful
purpose — if they were scaled down considerably. But what
about the other departments? What did we do in this country without
a Department of Education until 1979? Were people not being educated
properly until then? Is it the job of the government to provide
health and human services? Is it the job of the government to
oversee housing and urban development? And to those who say that
we need the new Department of Homeland Security to defend us from
terrorist attacks, I say: What about the Department of Defense?
If U.S. troops were not scattered all over the globe then perhaps
they might be able to guard our borders, patrol our coasts, and
defend us from terrorist attacks.

Executive
Office of the President

The
EOP consists of individuals and agencies that directly assist
the president. The EOP is a New Deal increase in the federal bureaucracy.
It was created by Congress in the Reorganization Act of 1939,
at the instigation of President Roosevelt. Here is the official
list from the
White House EOP website
:

  • Council
    of Economic Advisers
  • Council
    on Environmental Quality
  • Domestic
    Policy Council
  • National
    Economic Council
  • National
    Security Council
  • Office
    of Administration
  • Office
    of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
  • Office
    of Management and Budget
  • Office
    of National AIDS Policy
  • Office
    of National Drug Control Policy
  • Office
    of Science & Technology Policy
  • Office
    of the United States Trade Representative
  • President’s
    Critical Infrastructure Protection Board
  • President’s
    Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
  • USA Freedom
    Corps
  • White
    House Military Office

The
number and size of EOP agencies varies from administration to
administration. President Bush could have eliminated any one of
the above agencies.

Federal
Agencies and Commissions

And
then there are the numerous federal agencies and commissions.
Here is the official list from the
White House “Federal Agencies and Commissions” website
:

  • Advisory
    Council on Historic Preservation
  • African
    Development Foundation
  • Agency
    for International Development
  • American
    Battle Monuments Commission
  • AMTRAK
  • Appalachian
    Regional Commission
  • Architectural
    and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
  • Ballistic
    Missile Defense Organization
  • Bureau
    of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms
  • Bureau
    of Arms Control
  • Bureau
    of Engraving & Printing
  • Bureau
    of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau
    of the Census
  • Bureau
    of Transportation Statistics
  • Centers
    for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Central
    Intelligence Agency
  • Chemical
    Safety and Hazard Investigations Board
  • Commodity
    Futures Trading Commission
  • Commission
    on Civil Rights
  • Consumer
    Product Safety Commission
  • Corporation
    For National Service
  • Defense
    Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • Defense
    Information Systems Agency
  • Defense
    Intelligence Agency
  • Defense
    Logistics Agency
  • Defense
    Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
  • Defense
    Security Service
  • Defense
    Threat Reduction Agency
  • Drug Enforcement
    Administration
  • Environmental
    Protection Agency
  • Equal
    Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Export-Import
    Bank of the U.S.
  • Farm Credit
    Administration
  • Federal
    Accounting Standards Advisory Board
  • Federal
    Aviation Administration
  • Federal
    Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal
    Communications Commission
  • Federal
    Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Federal
    Election Commission
  • Federal
    Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal
    Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Federal
    Highway Administration
  • Federal
    Housing Finance Board
  • Federal
    Labor Relations Authority
  • Federal
    Maritime Commission
  • Federal
    Mediation & Conciliation Service
  • Federal
    Mine Safety & Health Review Commission
  • Federal
    Railroad Administration
  • Federal
    Reserve System
  • Federal
    Retirement Thrift Investment Board
  • Federal
    Trade Commission
  • Food &
    Drug Administration
  • General
    Accounting Office
  • General
    Services Administration
  • Ginnie
    Mae
  • Immigration
    & Naturalization Services
  • Institute
    of Museum and Library Services
  • Inter-American
    Development Bank
  • Inter-American
    Foundation
  • Internal
    Revenue Services
  • International
    Bank for Reconstruction & Development
  • International
    Labor Organization
  • International
    Monetary Fund
  • International
    Trade Commission
  • Legal
    Services Corporation
  • Medicare
    Payment Advisory Commission
  • Merit
    Systems Protection Board
  • National
    Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National
    Archives and Records Administration
  • National
    Bioethics Advisory Commission
  • National
    Capital Planning Commission
  • National
    Commission on Libraries and Information Science
  • National
    Council on Disability
  • National
    Credit Union Administration
  • National
    Endowment for the Arts
  • National
    Endowment for the Humanities
  • National
    Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • National
    Imagery & Mapping Agency
  • National
    Institute of Justice
  • National
    Institute of Mental Health
  • National
    Institute of Standards & Technology
  • National
    Institutes of Health
  • National
    Labor Relations Board
  • National
    Mediation Board
  • National
    Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  • National
    Park Service
  • National
    Science Foundation
  • National
    Security Agency
  • National
    Skill Standards Board
  • National
    Technology Transfer Center
  • National
    Telecommunications Information Administration
  • National
    Transportation Safety Board
  • Neighborhood
    Reinvestment Corporation
  • Nuclear
    Regulatory Commission
  • Occupational
    Safety and Health Administration
  • Occupational
    Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Office
    of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
  • Office
    of Government Ethics
  • Office
    of Personnel Management
  • Office
    of Special Counsel
  • Office
    of Thrift Supervision
  • Organization
    for Economic Cooperation & Development
  • Organization
    of American States
  • Overseas
    Private Investment Corp.
  • Pan American
    Health Organization
  • Patent
    & Trademark Office
  • Peace
    Corps
  • Pension
    Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Postal
    Rate Commission
  • Railroad
    Retirement Board
  • Securities
    and Exchange Commission
  • Securities
    Investor Protection Corp.
  • Selective
    Service System
  • Small
    Business Administration
  • Smithsonian
    Institution
  • Social
    Security Administration
  • Substance
    Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
  • Surface
    Transportation Board
  • Tennessee
    Valley Authority
  • Trade
    and Development Agency
  • U.S. Customs
    Service
  • U.S. Fish
    and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest
    Service
  • U.S. Government
    Printing Office
  • U.S. Institute
    of Peace
  • U.S. Office
    of Government Ethics
  • U.S. Treasury
  • United
    States Holocaust Memorial Council
  • United
    States Postal Service
  • United
    Nations Information Center
  • Voice
    of America
  • Walter
    Reed Army Medical Center
  • White
    House Fellows
  • White
    House Commission on Remembrance
  • Women’s
    History Commission

Are
all these agencies and commissions necessary? Are any of them
constitutional? Most Americans have probably never even heard
of half of them.

Conclusion

This
brief look at the four years growth of the federal budget, deficit,
debt, and bureaucracy shows without a doubt that a Republican
president and a Republican Congress cannot be trusted to roll
back the welfare/warfare state even one-tenth of an inch. Given
their track record, you can count on them to increase it substantially
during the next four years. Never, never, never trust any document
written by the Republican Party or anything that comes out of
the mouth of any Republican president, congressman, or politician
about reducing the size and scope of government. And yes, the
same thing goes for the Democrats.

George
Bush was right when he said a few years ago: “The American
people have been overcharged for Government, and they deserve
a refund.” The only problem with his statement is that it
is now Bush and the Republicans who have overcharged the American
people for government, and there is no refund in sight.

 

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare