A new report from the New York Times attempts to answer the questions – how did our economy get to this point? And where did this massive deficit come from? The report took the spending habits of the last president, and compared them to those of President Obama, from his inauguration in 2009 and projected through 2017, and interestingly, despite what Republicans and Conservatives think, George Bush still out-spent Barack Obama by more than 2 to 1.
When President Clinton left office in 2001, George Bush inherited a surplus, one that was projected to be over a trillion dollars for the next decade if the Clinton policies remained in effect. The chart below, which took information from The Congressional Budget Office and The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tells the story of George Bush and his spending ways, and how he turned a surplus into a deficit beginning in 2002, and how that deficit grew each year until he left office in 2009.
- The Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with Defense – $1.5 Trillion added to the deficit.
- The Bush Tax Cuts – $1.8 Trillion added to the deficit.
- Non-Defense Discretionary spending under George Bush – $608 Billion added to the deficit.
- Bush Tarp and other Bailouts – $224 Billion added to the deficit.
- Bush’s Medicare Drug Policies – $180 Billion added to the deficit.
- Bush’s Stimulus and other spending – #773 Billion added to the deficit.
All in all, George Bush took an actual surplus of $127 billion in 2001, and turned it into a deficit of $319 billion in 2005. His total in new spending equaled over $5 trillion. This figure dwarfs the $1.44 trillion in new spending President Obama is expected to make through two terms ending in 2017.
It should be noted that the biggest spending spree George Bush and the Republicans went on, according to these figures from the Congressional Budget Office, were the Bush Tax Cuts. The New York Times report puts it this way; “If all of them [Bush Tax Cuts] expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels”.2