Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Federal Spending Analysis

The Economics division of the Lost-Tooth Society has been studying historical spending rates of the federal government, and wanted to post some of the preliminary findings. We have noticed many unsubstantiated complaints from the left regarding spending by the Bush administration, so we thought a review of the facts was warranted.

We began by looking at the Tax Foundation's website (see "Interesting Links"), and found an analysis of the president's FY'04 budget. It compares the 2004 budget with the historical averages of Post WW2 budgets, Bill Clinton's budget averages, George HW Bush's budget averages, and the averages of Ronald Reagan's budgets, all as a percent of Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. (GDP, for those of you who don't already know, is the measure of the whole of the national economy.)

Some of the key findings:
  • Total receipts (% of GDP) 17% (versus 17.9 post WW2)
  • Total outlays 19.7% vs 19.5 (post WW2)
  • Deficit 2.7% vs. 1.6%
  • Annual growth in receipts 2.7% vs. 2.9%
  • Annual growth in outlays 2.2% vs. 2.3%
  • Debt held by public 36.9% vs. 44%
  • Gross public debt 64.8% vs. 56%

It's even more interesting when GWB's 2004 budget is compared with Bill Clinton's. You can read the entire article and review the table here.


We also looked further into the details of federal spending between the Bush (43) and Clinton budgets to see how their spending patterns differed.

We compared Clinton's first four years to Bush (estimated 04), using Office of Management and Budget spreadsheets(Budget Authority by Agency) (constant $), and discovered that:

  • Clinton's spending on veteran's affairs increased by an average of 8%, Bush increased by 27%.
  • EPA under Clinton up 1%, under Bush the EPA saw an increase of 10%.
  • Education spending under Clinton increased 25%, but increased 58% by Bush.
  • Labor department budget authority under Clinton decreased 16%. Under Bush Labor Dept. spending increased 35%.
  • Small Business Administration spending under Clinton's watch decreased a whopping 59%, and increased under Bush by an equally eye-popping 6,125%!


We at the LTS are not very happy with GWB's large spending increases, but the data above clearly debunks the liberal view that he has gutted education and environmental spending. On the contrary, he is spending far more that Clinton did on the very programs they cry the loudest over.

You can find all the OMB spreadsheets here.

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