Cartoon by Daryl Cagle at the daily political cartoon section on his website.
Charlie Savage (email) of the Boston Globe won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Bush Administration's efforts to concentrate power for the executive branch and went on to write the book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy.
The president embraces the theory of the "unitary executive" which according to "Rethinking Presidential Power—The Unitary Executive and the George W. Bush Presidency" a 2005 paper by Dr. Christopher S. Kelley (email) from the Department of Political Science at Miami University in Oxford, OH, has been used for unilateral action since Nixon's time when
modern presidents have had a difficult time relying upon the traditional powers of bargaining and persuadingWhile Kelley relied on the use of signing statements, executive orders, and the OIRA to advance the administration’s objectives, it appears that he has added a new tool: the budget.
Bush's FY 2009 Budget, which he submitted February 4 for the year starting this October is the topic of the WaPo's Stephen Barr, who in "Growing the Workforce but not the Payroll," writes,
This is an example of solid, factual reporting citing sources on all sides of the issue. Although the hook is the lower % raises for civilians than for non-combat military and the reaction of legislators in the DC area, where a lot of federal employees reside, it contains the broader picture of how the Administration tries to reverse legislation passed by the bi-partisan agreement of Congress in trying to put limits n private-sector outsourcing and the repeal of better retirement benefits for customs and border patrol officers in the Department of homeland security, as well as reducing eligibility for loan forgiveness in last year's College Cost Reduction Act for individuals with current loans who have opted to work in public service and nonprofit jobs. At the same time as claiming fiscal responsibility, he has put war spending off the books.
Another item in the budget likely to stir controversy on Capitol Hill is the proposal to repeal parts of last year's consolidated appropriations bill, signed by Bush, that makes it more difficult for agencies to contract out jobs held by federal employees.
The legislation requires that private-sector bids show a savings of $10 million or 10 percent beyond the cost of keeping the work in agencies, prevents contractors from gaining an advantage by offering less generous health and retirement benefits to their workers, and extends to federal employees the same rights to appeal agency decisions as those that are available to contractors.
I would have liked some links to the legislation in question which Bush has reversed through his budget. Also, for balance, there could have been something from the rebuttal by the Republicans of the Democratats' analysis. For additional information, see OMB Watch's The Bush Budget Legacy: Misleading Claims and Misguided Priorities.