Analysis of President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union Address

by Demian Brady / /

NTUF State of the Union Analysis        Download the PDF of .docx

National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s State of the Union (SOTU) cost analyses detail the budgetary impact of all the actionable proposals made during the President’s annual address to Congress. Our researchers identify every policy supported during the address that could increase or decrease federal spending. We then match them with cost estimates for identical or similar measures introduced as legislation, in a previous budget proposal, or in third-party studies. By compiling each of those estimates, we are able to derive the total net cost of the agenda presented during the President’s speech.

(quoted from text)
Annual Net Spending Increase/Decrease
(in millions)
1“So last week, my Administration reached agreement with Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader Boehner on a robust growth package that includes tax relief for individuals and families and incentives for business investment. The temptation will be to load up the bill. That would delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable. This is a good agreement that will keep our economy growing and our people working. And this Congress must pass it as soon as possible.”$30,800¹
2“Next week, I will send you a budget that terminates or substantially reduces 151 wasteful or bloated programs totaling more than $18 billion.”($18,000)
3“Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, modernize the Federal Housing Administration, and allow State housing agencies to issue tax-free bonds to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.”($326)
4“So I have proposed ending the bias in the tax code against those who do not get their health insurance through their employer. This one reform would put private coverage within reach for millions, and I call on the Congress to pass it this year.”$2,856
5“The Congress must also … create Association Health Plans for small businesses … .”$6
6“The Congress must also … promote health information technology … .”$100²
7“The Congress must also … confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits.”($890)
8“Now we must work together to increase accountability, add flexibility for States and districts, reduce the number of high school dropouts, and provide extra help for struggling schools. Members of Congress: The No Child Left Behind Act is a bipartisan achievement. It is succeeding. And we owe it to America's children, their parents, and their teachers to strengthen this good law.”Unknown.
9“I ask you to support a new $300 million program called Pell Grants for Kids. We have seen how Pell Grants help low-income college students realize their full potential. Together, we have expanded the size and reach of these grants. Now let's apply that same spirit to help liberate poor children trapped in failing public schools.”$300
10“Now I ask you to approve agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.”Unknown.
11“I ask the Congress to reauthorize and reform Trade Adjustment Assistance, so we can help these displaced workers learn new skills and find new jobs.”Unknown.
12“Together we should take the next steps: Let us fund new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions.”$222
13“Let us increase the use of renewable power and emissions-free nuclear power.”Unknown.
14“Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources.”$667
15“And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases. This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.”Unknown.
16“… I ask the Congress to double federal support for critical basic research in the physical sciences and ensure America remains the most dynamic nation on earth.”$1,150
17“Yet we also need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we create a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy. This will take pressure off the border and allow law enforcement to concentrate on those who mean us harm. We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally. Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved. And it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals.”$490
18“And I ask the Congress to meet its responsibilities to these brave men and women by fully funding our troops.”$109,400
19“We have also changed the way we deliver aid by launching the Millennium Challenge Account. This program strengthens democracy, transparency, and the rule of law in developing nations, and I ask you to fully fund this important initiative.”$1,865
20“And tonight, I ask the Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops directly from farmers in the developing world, so we can build up local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine.”Unknown.
21“And I call on you to double our initial commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS by approving an additional $30 billion over the next 5 years.”$6,000
22“I call on the Congress to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of hope, promise, and dignity.”Unknown.
23“So I ask you to join me in expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.”Unknown.
Sources: National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s BillTally, the White House, and various news reports.

¹ This figure assumes that at least 88 percent of the $35 billion in stimulus aid directed to the working poor will be refundable, in accordance with the refundability rate of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
² The estimate for this initiative is based on the level of funding proposed by the Administration in Fiscal Year 2008.

Historical Comparisons

President/SpeechNon-Defense Discretionary Spending (in billions)Defense/Homeland Security Spending
(in billions)
Clinton -- 1999$305$22
Clinton -- 2000$119$21
Bush -- 2002*$55$51
Bush -- 2003$46$6
Bush -- 2004$13.6N/A
Bush -- 2005$12.8N/A
Bush -- 2006$.091N/A
Bush -- 2007$3.48$8.9
Bush -- 2008$24.75$109.89
* Historically Presidents do not give State of the Union addresses their first year in office (2001 for President Bush).