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More headlines: George W. Bush on Budget & Economy

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)


The middle class will have to fill the Kerry tax gap

Kerry had been a senator for 20 years, he voted to increase taxes 98 times. When they’d try to reduce taxes he voted against that 127 times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative or fiscally sound but he voted 277 times to waive the budget caps, which would have cost the taxpayers $4.2 trillion. He talks about pay-go. When you’re a senator from Massachusetts, when you’re a colleague of Ted Kennedy, pay-go means you pay and he goes ahead and spends. He’s proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending and yet the so-called tax on the rich, which is also a tax on many small business owners in America, raises $600 billion by our account, $800 billion by his account. There is a tax gap. And guess who usually ends up filling the tax gap? The middle class. I proposed a detailed budget. I send up my budget man to the Congress and he says here’s how we’re going to reduce the deficit in half by five years, it requires pro-growth policies that grow our economy and fiscal sanity in the halls of Congress.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Kerry is not credible as a fiscal conservative

KERRY: I’m going to restore what we did in the 1990s: pay as you go. We’re going to do it like you do it. The president broke the pay-as-you-go rule.

BUSH: He’s just not credible when he talks about being fiscally conservative. If you look at his record in the Senate, he voted to break the spending caps over 200 times. And of course he’s going to raise your taxes. You see, he’s proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending. He says he’s going to raise the taxes on the rich-that raises $800 billion. Now, either he’s going to break all these wonderful promises he’s told you about or he’s going to raise taxes. And I suspect, given his record, he’s going to raise taxes.

KERRY: In 1985, I was one of the first Democrats to move to balance the budget. I vote for the balanced budget in ‘93 and ‘97. We did it. And I was there.

BUSH: Yes, he’s got a record. You can run, but you can’t hide. He voted 98 times to raise taxes. It’s just not credible to say he’s going to keep taxes down and balance budgets.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Kerry will not be able to pay for $2.2T in new spending

BUSH: Kerry’s proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending. How are you going to pay for it? He said well, he’s going to raise the taxes on the rich. That’s what he said. The top two brackets. That raises, he says, $800 billion. We say $600 billion. We’ve got battling green eyeshades. Somewhere in between those numbers. And so there’s a difference - what he’s promised and what he can raise. The way to grow this economy is to keep taxes low, is have an energy plan, is to have litigation reform.

KERRY: The figures of $2.2 trillion just aren’t accurate. Those are the fuzzy math figures put together by some group that works for the campaign. Number two, John McCain and I have a proposal jointly for a commission that closes corporate giveaway loopholes. We got $40 billion going to Bermuda. We got all kinds of giveaways. We ought to be shutting those down.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

A biennial budget will avoid budget gridlock

With a split government -- the current Democratic administration vs. the GOP-controlled Congress, for example -- yearly budgeting often results in gridlock. “A biennial budget would lead to conservative budgeting. A yearly budget leads to squabbling.” Bush added that he would seek to draft legislation that would end the threat of government shutdowns.
Source: CNN.com Oct 21, 2000

Claims of Gore’s spending are based on inflated figures

Bush charged that Gore’s spending proposals are three times what Clinton proposed in 1992. But back then, federal spending was constrained by the federal deficit, which has been wiped out during Clinton’s terms.

While Bush is correct that Gore’s spending proposals exceed his, the combination of Bush’s spending plans and tax cuts would eat up more of the surplus than Gore would with his more modest tax cut and his larger spending plans.

To further complicate matters, Bush said Gore’s spending proposals are greater than the combination of what Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis proposed in 1984 and 1988, respectively. However, it appears Bush arrived at the number by using inflation-adjusted spending proposals and comparing them with estimates of Gore’s spending plans prepared by partisan groups such as the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Commitee. Gore’s total spending, according to the campaign, would be about $88 billion a year, not the $127 billion the Bush camp contends.

Source: Boston Globe analysis of St. Louis debate Oct 18, 2000

Claim of Gore’s 20,000 new bureaucrats is unlikely

BUSH: “Under Gore’s plan, we’re talking about. adding 20,000 new bureaucrats.”

ANALYSIS: Bush is basing his claims on a partisan report by the Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee. To get their numbers, they applied today’s ratio of employees to expenditures to their own estimates of Gore’s budget. The assumption-that more spending means more employees-DOESN“T NECESSARILY FOLLOW. In fact, during the 1990s, spending went up (by 38%) while the federal work force went down (by 12%).

Source: Presidential Debate, Boston Globe, “Number Crunch”, p. A15 Oct 11, 2000

Claim of 1/4 for important projects is overestimate

BUSH: I want to dedicate 1/2 of the surplus to Social Security, 1/4 for important projects, and send 1/4 back to the people who pay the bills.

ANALYSIS: Bush’s $475 billion in spending initiatives would incur $100 billion in interest costs because that money won’t be used to pay down the debt. Adding that to his total, he’s really spending roughly $575 billion or 13% of the surplus on “important projects.” That’s SIGNIFCANTLY LESS than the “1/4 of the surplus” that he claimed. And his $1.3 trillion tax cut, plus the $300 billion interest cots it would require, would eat up about 35% of the available surplus, a LOT MORE than the 1/4 he claims.

Bush’s ideal fractionsMore realistic numbers
50% for Social Security52% for Social Security
25% for important projects13% for important projects
25% back to people who pay bills35% back to people who pay bills
Source: Presidential Debate, Boston Globe, “Number Crunch”, p. A15 Oct 11, 2000

1980 tax cuts, deregulation, and trade led to strong economy

Who deserves credit for the longest economic expansion in U.S. history? Did the White House help foster it, or were the Democrats, as Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush contends, just lucky? “The momentum of today’s prosperity began in the 1980s-with sound money, deregulation, the opening of global trade and a 25% tax cut. The economic growth of the 1980s provided the venture capital for the technology revolution of the 1990s,” Bush said in a major speech on taxes.
Source: Peter G. Gosselin, LA Times Aug 21, 2000

Country is not better off as a result of Clinton/Gore years

Bush insisted that Gore was mistaken in arguing that the country is better off today. “I don’t think the school system is better off. I don’t think the morale in the military is better off. I don’t think our standing in the world is better off. No question the stock market is higher. But prosperity hasn’t reached throughout all of society.” One of the central aims of this week’s convention is to convince voters that the nation now is in a stronger position than when Bush’s father was president.
Source: Ronald Brownstein, LA Times Aug 13, 2000

The Texas budget is balanced, despite Gore’s attack

Our Texas budget is balanced and in the black. We have a surplus of $1.4 billion in the bank. For Vice President Gore to claim otherwise for his own political purposes is a travesty - he should be ashamed. Texas doesn’t need the Vice President to lecture us about balanced budgets - every budget I have signed in Texas has been balanced. The Texas Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, will make an appropriation when it convenes in January to pay for higher than expected costs in Medicaid and in prisons - we have more than enough money to pay those costs. I am proud that under my leadership, Texas has increased spending for education and health care, built and funded prisons, cut taxes by record amounts, and we still have a large surplus.
Source: Speech, “Response to Gore’s Attack on Texas” Jul 20, 2000

Commit funds to education and tax cuts

We can show Washington how to handle a budget surplus. During times of plenty, we must not commit our state to programs we cannot afford in the future. We must meet basic needs, dedicate the lion’s share of new money to public schools, then send money back to the hands who earned it - the taxpayers of Texas. Tomorrow, I will submit a budget that is balanced and limits government’s growth. It reflects my two major priorities: school children and taxpayers.
Source: 1999 State of the State Address, Austin TX Jan 27, 1999

Tax financing of sports stadiums ok, after vote

Gov. Bush supports using local tax money to finance the building of sports stadiums, if it is “approved by voters and does not raise state taxes.” Gov. Bush supports banning the casino-style slot machines known as “eight-liners.”
Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Surest way to bust economy is Gore’s enlarged government

BUSH [to Gore]: The surest way to bust this economy is to increase the role and the size of the federal government. The Senate Budget Committee did a study of Gore’s expenditures: it could conceivably bust the budget by $900 billion. That means he’s either going to have to raise your taxes by $900 billion or go into the Social Security surplus for $900 billion.

GORE: What he’s quoting is not the Senate Budget Committee, it is a partisan press release by the Republicans. And as for the surest way to threaten our prosperity, having a $1.9 trillion tax cut, almost half of which goes to the wealthy, and a $1 trillion Social Security privatization proposal, is the surest way to put our budget into deficit, raise interest rates and put our prosperity at risk.

BUSH: I can’t let the man continue with fuzzy math. It’s $1.3 trillion, Mr. Vice President. And it’s going to go to everybody who pays taxes. I’m not going to be a pick-and-chooser. What is fair is everybody who pays taxes ought to get relief.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Don’t let Gore bring back big government; 200 new programs

Bush painted Gore on as a big spender who would bring back the era of expansive government and threaten prosperity. “He is proposing the largest increase in federal spending in 35 years.” He said Gore was proposing more than 200 new or expanded federal programs that would result in an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 new federal employees. He said there would be 412 new Medicare regulations and more audits of taxpayers. “All this could amount to over $2 trillion in bigger government in 10 years.”
Source: AP Story, NY Times Sep 28, 2000

Bush’s budget: $265B left of surplus after 10 years

Bush Budget 2001-2010 ($Billion)
Surplus Amount
Total Surplus4,563
Social Security Lock Box(2,388)
On-Budget Surplus2,173
Tax Cuts and Spending
Tax Plan1,317.0
Medicare Rx & Reform198.3
Health131.9
Defense 45.0
Education47.6
Compassion/Charity23.9
Agriculture7.6
Housing/IDAs6.6
Environment5.3
Crime & Ot Domestic8.5
Savings from Gov’t Reform (196.4)
Interest Cost312.5
Total Tax Cuts & Spending1,907.7
Source: Press Release, “Budget Numbers” Sep 5, 2000

Gore: Feds spend surplus; Bush: taxpayers spend it

Source: Bruce Bartlett, Editorial, NY Times, p. A27 Aug 22, 2000

Spend $586B surplus on tax cuts, health, & defense

Budget surplus:Bush proposalsGore proposals
Estimate for 2002-2006$586 billion$164 billion
Estimate for 2001-2010No estimate made $746 billion
Economic assumptionsUses lower estimates of Congressional spending & 2.7% annual growthAssumes spending will grow at the rate of inflation; 2.6% annual growth
How surplus would be used
For fiscal years2002-20062001-2010
Tax cuts$483 billion; total $1.3 trillion by 2010$250 billion, includes some of Clinton’s FY2000 proposals
Some major spending proposals
  • $46 billion for health care
  • $13 billion for education
  • $25 billion for defense
  • $64 billion to pay down the national debt
  • $432 billion for Medicare
  • $146 billion for health insurance
  • Source: NY Times, p. 22 Apr 30, 2000

    10-year surplus: $2T Social Security; $1T debt; $1T tax cut

    I believe we’ve got $4 trillion [in surpluses available] over 10 years; $2 trillion of which will go to save Social Security and pay down debt; $1 trillion available for debt repayment and other programs and $1 trillion, over a 10-year period, for a meaningful, substantial, real tax cut to the people.
    Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

    Use presidential power to get money away from Congress

    McCAIN [to Bush]: You seem to depict the role of the president as a hapless bystander. [Clinton] is threatening to shut down the government and vetoing bills to force the congress to spend more money. An active president, i.e. me, will veto bills and threaten to shut down the government to make them spend less money.

    Bush: It’s the president’s job to make sure Congress doesn’t have the money to spend in the first place. It is the president’s job to stand up to express the will of the people, advocate and fight for a meaningful real tax cut. And that’s what I’m going to do.

    Source: (X-ref from McCain) GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

    Guarantees future surpluses with his tax plan

    Q: Let’s suppose that the projected surpluses in your tax plan fail to materialize in full or in part. What part of your tax package gets dropped first? A: I refuse to accept the premise that surpluses are going to decline if I’m the president. I think they’re going to increase, because my plan will increase productivity by cutting marginal rates.
    Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

    Supports Balanced Budget Amendment

    Gov. Bush stated that he would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget.
    Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

    Other candidates on Budget & Economy: George W. Bush on other issues:
    Former Presidents:
    George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
    Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
    George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
    Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
    Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
    Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
    Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
    Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
    John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
    Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
    Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

    Former Contenders:
    V.P.Al Gore
    Pat Buchanan
    V.P.Dick Cheney
    Sen.Bob Dole
    Ralph Nader
    Gov.Sarah Palin

    Political Thinkers:
    Noam Chomsky
    Milton Friedman
    Arianna Huffington
    Rush Limbaugh
    Tea Party
    Ayn Rand
    Secy.Robert Reich
    Donald Trump
    Gov.Jesse Ventura
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    Page last updated: Jul 05, 2014