1976 1980 1988 1992 1999
Entitlements & Other Mandatory 10.9 10.7 10.1 11.5 10.7
Domestic Discretionary 4.5 4.7 3.1 3.4 3.1
Defense & International 5.6 5.4 6.1 5.2 3.2
Net Interest 1.5 1.9 3.0 3.2 2.5
By these numbers our most liberal president since 1976 has been . . . George H.W. Bush, with the assistance of a Democratic Congress. If you go by defense you have to give Clinton credit for cutting more than anyone else.
One qualification to the above is that some of Bush's 'mandatory' spending increase was the S&L bailout.
It may be noted, Nathan, that the interest savings under Clinton were not accompanied w/spending growth, but the contrary. (The increase under Bush was accompanied by spending increases as well.) This casts some doubt on the theory that we will spend more by spending less (i.e., paying down debt).