Last night, Bush said he will ask Congress for an additonal $87 billion (with a B) for the Iraq war. That would bring the total to $150 billion spent on the war and the aftermath. For a little perspective on this amount, the 1991 Persian Gulf War, cost $80 billion, and the United States paid only $9 billion of that total.
Folks, we will be paying for the legacy of this president for years.
Since Bush has friendly Republicans controlling the House and Senate, the request is expected to be approved. It will bring the federal deficit for 2004 to $562 billion, an amount that would make even Ronald Reagan proud. This means that one out of every three dollars the federal government spends outside of the self-funded Social Security system will be paid for by borrowing, beating the previous one year record for deficit spending of 31 percent set by President Reagan in fiscal 1983, and the highest percentage since World War II.
Prior to the Reagan years, the level of deficit financed spending was much lower. Under Eisenhower, deficit spending was only 3%. Under Nixon, Ford, and Jimmy Carter it was around 14%.
Under Reagan, deficit spending skyrocketed. Bush Sr. didn’t help the situation, maintaining deficit spending at around 28%. And the economy suffered. Finally, people decided deficits were bad, and Clinton and Ross Perot ran on anti-deficit platforms.
Once elected, Clinton rasied taxes and restrained spending. During President Clinton