The new $3.1 trillion U.S. budget

ALEX WONG/Getty Images Bush plans to leave office next year on a very high note – the highest in U.S. history, in fact. His final full budget, unveiled today, rings in at $3.1 trillion, the highest 12-month spending figure in U.S. history. What’s up: Military spending and projected deficits. What’s down: Just about everything else. ...

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596690_USBudget_05.jpg

ALEX WONG/Getty Images

Bush plans to leave office next year on a very high note - the highest in U.S. history, in fact. His final full budget, unveiled today, rings in at $3.1 trillion, the highest 12-month spending figure in U.S. history.

What's up: Military spending and projected deficits. What's down: Just about everything else.

ALEX WONG/Getty Images

Bush plans to leave office next year on a very high note – the highest in U.S. history, in fact. His final full budget, unveiled today, rings in at $3.1 trillion, the highest 12-month spending figure in U.S. history.

What’s up: Military spending and projected deficits. What’s down: Just about everything else.

The new budget will call for $515 billion for the Pentagon, the largest military budget (when adjusted for inflation) since World War II.

Bush claims that his spending plan will balance the budget by 2012. That forecast, however, only includes $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009 and zero dollars thereafter. The Congressional Research Service estimates that Iraq alone already costs more than $10 billion a month. In other words, it’s highly unlikely that $70 billion is going to cut it next year, and the president’s critics are calling the proposal a financial sleight of hand.

But don’t think that Bush isn’t all about saving dollars when he can: In a “moneysaving measure,” the White House refrained from printing 3,000 copies of the mammoth budget for Congress and the media. It’s online instead.  

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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