Monday, April 03, 2006

Money Money Money Money . . . MONEY!

It was a big deal when Bush was approaching LBJ levels of increasing government spending, but the man obviously has no patience being anything but number 1. He's creeping up on Roosevelt. That's right. Roosevelt. Who fought World War II and basically created the concept of big government.

The federal government is currently spending 20.8 cents of every $1 the economy generates, up from 18.5 cents in 2001, White House budget documents show. That's the most rapid growth during one administration since Franklin Roosevelt.

There are no signs that the trend is about to turn around. The House Budget Committee last week rejected a proposal that would require spending hikes to be offset by cuts in other spending or by tax increases.

This week, the House is scheduled to debate the $2.8 trillion budget for 2007, which projects an additional $3 trillion of debt in the next five years.

The Sept. 11 attacks, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Gulf Coast hurricanes account for only part of the increased spending.

Other factors: the biggest military buildup in decades, domestic spending, and the rise of benefits for the elderly, poor and disabled.

"You take anything, and we've grown it big," says Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a leading critic of the spending spurt. "When you're in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, there's just no stop on it. There's no brake."

So LBJ's Great Society has been left in the lurch. But can Bush outdo WWII and the New Deal in spending? I think that's the grand question for our age. And, to make Monday morning easy on the eyes, here's even more from USA Today.