Final Numbers: Bush Biggest Spender Since LBJ

Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute updates the numbers on federal spending under George W. Bush with the final spending for FY 2009 in the books. While some of the 2009 spending increases were signed into law by Obama (e.g. stimulus money, some new items in the “omnibus” bill, extending unemployment benefits, and “cash for clunkers”), it remains clear that Bush was a big spender.

In total Bush increased spending by an average of 4.9% (after adjusting for inflation) per year, the highest by any president since Johnson. Excluding interest payments, the increase under Bush was 5.6% per year in real terms, nearly matching LBJ. And – for those who think Bush only increase spending on wars – non-interest, non-defense spending increased 5.4% annually in real dollars, which is the highest since Nixon.

This may seem like beating a dead horse, but many blame Bush’s policies for the economy collapsing, it is important to note that those policies included dramatic spending increases. Yet somehow, “change” has morphed into more of the same.