Bush proposes record 3.1 trillion dollar budget

US President George W. Bush has unveiled a 3.1 trillion dollar budget for the fiscal year 2009, which forecasts a 410 billion dollar deficit for the current year. Bush has also proposed a record raise for defence spending.


US President George W. Bush proposed Monday a record 3.1-trillion-dollar budget for fiscal 2009 that widens the government deficit with an economic stimulus and expenditures for the war in Iraq.

Bush's spending plan, sent to Congress for the fiscal year starting October 1, forecasts heavy deficits for the government -- 410 billion dollars for the current year and 407 billion for the coming fiscal year.

The budget, an outline of spending plans that must be approved by Congress, is the first to exceed three trillion dollars.

Bush proposed 515.4 billion dollars in defense spending for the upcoming year, up from 479.5 billion in fiscal 2008.

The plan includes an additional 70 billion dollars dedicated for the "global war on terror," mainly for ongoing fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although that figure is lower than the amount in the current budget, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would "certainly" cost more than what is in the budget.

Bush also budgeted over the current and upcoming year 145 billion dollars for the economic growth package the White House and Congress are working to pass to help revive flagging economic growth.

The document includes a five-year budget outline that would temporarily increase the deficit for 2008 and 2009 before paring it in subsequent years.

"The president's 2009 budget proposes to boost near-term economic growth, restrain spending, and reform entitlements, leading to a balanced budget by 2012 and a more fiscally prudent path for the long term," Bush said in his budget message.

The deficit, which had fallen to 1.2 percent of US economic output or gross domestic product (GDP), would jump to 2.9 percent of GDP in 2008 and ease to 2.7 percent in 2009.

"By adopting pro-growth economic policies and spending restraint, the president has succeeded in reducing the deficit," the budget message said.

"The deficit fell in 2007 for the third year in a row and was very low by historical standards. Despite these recent improvements in the deficit and an economy that retains a solid foundation, short-term economic challenges exist and the strong economic growth of the last few years cannot be taken for granted.

"The 2009 budget includes an economic growth package that will provide temporary and immediate tax relief to bolster consumer spending and business investment in order to maintain a healthy economy and ensure that the budget remains on a path to balance."

Overall spending would increase 6.1 percent in the Bush plan, but cuts would be made in a number of domestic programs, with lower allotments for health and human services, and labor and transportation, among others.

Democratic Representative John Spratt, head of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, said the latest budget highlights mismanagement of economic affairs by the Bush adminstration.

"Today's budget bears all the hallmarks of the Bush legacy -- it leads to more deficits, more debt, more tax cuts, more cutbacks in critical services," Spratt said in a statement.

"Ever since turning record surpluses to record deficits, the administration has assured us that good news was just around the corner; but we have turned the corner, and the news is not good at all."

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