George Bush used a budgetary trick to conceal spending for his wars. Obama: No More War Spending Tricks | Danger Room | Wired.com He hid the wars off budget - in emergency spending measures. This meant that his war spending did not count against his budget - and it prevented people from seeing how much he was really spending. Reagan did the same thing with the Cold War, so he could hide the expense of things like his Star Wars Missile Defense shield (which drew harsh criticisms, not least because future generations are on the hook for this trillion dollar failure). Reagan believed that if Americans realized how much debt was being accumulated by his radical increase in military spending, they would have lost confidence and stopped borrowing themselves. This would have hurt his economic boom, which was partly based on an unprecedented expansion of the credit markets. (Indeed, starting in 1980, household debt quadrupled. Having lost jobs and high wages to globalization, Americans went deeper and deeper into debt to maintain their living standards. During the postwar years, Americans primarily used cash to buy things. During the post Reagan era, they used credit vehicles . . . debt). Though hiding war-spending makes good short term political sense - and though it worked for Reagan and Bush - Obama decided to put the wars back on the official budget so America could see how much they were spending. Obama: No More War Spending Tricks | Danger Room | Wired.com Obama was advised to hide the war debt like Reagan and Bush, so that he could shield his spending record from criticism. Was Bush smart to hide the war expense from the American people? Was Obama stupid for putting the wars back in the official budget, despite the fact that they counted against his spending record?