A $458 Billion Budget Hole: Rob Portman’s Record as George W. Bush’s Budget Director

Having previously served in the Bush Administration as U.S. Trade Representative, Portman shifted to a new role in the Bush Cabinet in 2006 when he was appointed as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Portman’s signature accomplishment in this position was the creation of the fiscal year 2008 budget. Here are just a few notable data points:

  • As the Director of the Office of Budget and Management under George W. Bush, Rob Portman oversaw a budget that nearly tripled the annual federal deficit from $161 billion to $458 billion.
  • Portman’s 2008 budget proposed to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, which give the wealthiest 10 percent over half of the benefit and added $1 trillion to the national debt.
  • Shortly before the economy collapsed in 2008 and revenue shrunk by 1.7 percent, Portman wrongly predicted that the economy would grow and revenue would increase by 5.4 percent.
  • Portman woefully underestimated the impacts of the looming mortgage crisis, stating that he ‘had a hard time imagining’ that foreclosures would impact the economy or the 2008 budget.
  • At the same time he was proposing to cut taxes for those at the top, Rob Portman was also proposing to cut 141 different programs, including entitlements for the poor.
  • Rob Portman’s budget criticisms of Barack Obama and Ted Strickland ring hollow considering the national debt grew from $8.3 trillion to $8.8 trillion under his watch as Budget Director.

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