POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Congress the Most Profligate of Bush Years

There's a reason the media, as shown here, glossed over the most basic elements of the full fiscal-year results for Uncle Sam when they were released last week: spending spiraled out of control more than any other single year during the Bush administration.

And guess who's in charge? Is it a coincidence that the 2007-2008 fiscal year represents the first year for which the Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) Congress had full budget-passing responsibility? I think not. But the folks in charge of delivering the news don't want us to get any crazy ideas while the attempted coronation of Barack Obama is in full swing.

Here is how federal spending has grown during the past seven fiscal years (the analysis starts in fiscal 2002, since the final budget passed during the Clinton administration covered the 2001 fiscal year; source data: 2007 and 2008, 2005 and 2006, 2003 and 2004, 2001 and 2002):

House Speaker Dennis Hastert's rule during three Bush administration congressional terms has been portrayed as overindulgent and heavy on pork-barrel spending. That characterization is mostly accurate, though there is some justification for increases that occurred during the earlier years.

Fiscal 2002 was certainly affected by post-9/11 homeland security-related responses. Whether you agree with the decisions to fight them, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were certainly key components of the increases that took place in 2002 and 2003. But after that, the excuses for spending growth are pretty thin. It is not without reason that many inclined to support George Bush over John Kerry in 2004 held their noses in the voting booth.

Fiscal 2005 and 2006 were particularly odious. The Hurricane Katrina response was a blank check that generated staggering waste. Pork-barrel spending went into overdrive, culminating with a "Republican" senator, Ted Stevens, threatening to resign if he didn't get his $200-plus million Bridge to Nowhere. (Mr. Stevens and the Alaska GOP may learn in two weeks that resignation would have been a marvelous idea.)

George Bush's shared culpability for initiating and/or acquiescing to all of this should, of course, not be ignored. Time after time the president had chances -- and failed -- to pull out his veto pen.