THE BIG LIE….I know that budget numbers are b-o-o-o-o-ring, but did anyone notice Bush repeating one of his great whoppers of all time last night?

Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15 percent a year when I got into office. And today it’s less than 1 percent, because we’re working together to try to bring this deficit under control.

The folks at Cato probably burst a collective vein last night when they heard this. (You can see what they think of Bush’s spending record here.)

Looking at the whole record, rather than just a couple of cherry-picked years, here’s the truth about increases in non-defense discretionary spending over the past six administrations:

  • Nixon/Ford: 6.8% per year

  • Carter: 2.0% per year

  • Reagan: -1.3% per year

  • Bush 1: 4.0% per year

  • Clinton: 2.5% per year

  • Bush Jr: 8.2% per year

All percentages are adjusted for inflation. The chart on the right shows raw figures for the past three administrations (from the Congressional Budget Office).

Outside of the personal fantasyland Bush seems to inhabit, the truth is simple: spending of all kinds has skyrocketed under his administration ? with help from a Republican Congress, of course. Non-defense discretionary spending in particular has increased twice as fast as under Bush 1, three times as fast as Clinton, and four times as fast as Carter. And remember: this doesn’t include defense spending, entitlement spending, or homeland security. 9/11 and Medicare have nothing to do with it.

It’s laughable for Bush to pretend to be a frugal spender, working his tail off to bring an out-of-control Clinton budget down to earth. He’s spending our children’s money as fast as he can print it, and debate fact checkers shouldn’t let him get away with pretending otherwise.

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