Friday, January 27, 2006

Deficit Reduction Under Bush? New Numbers Suggest Administration Should Scratch That From List of "Accomplishments"

The federal budget deficit will likely be at least $337 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

That's up from $319 billion in 2005, following a record $412 billion in 2004.

And the $337 billion figure is likely understating what the real deficit will be this year. The White House Budget Office is projecting the number will top $400 billion, with the difference coming from costs related to Hurricane Katrina.

But the number could go even higher than that, if other emergency spending measures have to be undertaken. In 2005, the Bush Administration asked for $10.5 billion of emergency spending for Hurricane Katrina and $82 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

So can the Bush Administration claim it is conquering the budget deficit? Amazingly, it was just last month that the White House released a "fact sheet" listing the Bush Administration's "accomplishments," including "We Remain On Track To Cut The Budget Deficit In Half By 2009."

That goal seems far-fetched -- the CBO estimate for 2006-2010 has Bush missing. But of course, by 2009 Bush will have left office.

How out of control is the deficit? As JABBS wrote earlier this month, the White House will soon ask Congress to raise the government's debt ceiling, now capped at $8.18 trillion. It will be the fourth time in five years that the administration will seek to increase the debt limit.

Remember, Republicans are the "fiscally conservative" party.


Anonymous windspike said...

Yes, indeed. Remind me again which party is supposed to be more fiscally responsible?

2:38 PM  
Anonymous ken grandlund said...

Neither party can lay claim to fiscal responsibility. They all spend our money like crack whores on a weekend binge. If we at least got some good return on our
tax dollars, that would be one thing. Instead, only the corporations seem to benefit while the vast middle class moves lower on the ladder of prosperity.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Clinton got the budget into balance. Reagan, Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger each produced annual deficits of more than $100 billion, and under the Bushes, often between $300 billion and $412 biliion.

Republicans have controlled the spending flow for more than a decadce, because they control Congress.

How excatly is this a problem of both parties?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities agreed in a recent report that the only way Bush can keep his promise to cut the deficit in half in the next few years would be to leave out the costs for Iraq and Afghanistan. The agency also found that Bush's proposal to make the tax cuts permanent would significantly expand the deficit.
(Read about this and ALL of Bush's failed State of the Union promises as supported by objective facts, independent data and bipartison statistics
The main stream media will nonetheless pretend we have ample reason to believe Bush in next week's go-round, and discredit any dissenters who recite such historical facts through shuffling them into a category of partison Democrats.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Ken Grandlund said...

The balanced Clinton budget relied heavily on surplus social security funds to justify itself, so despite increased federal receipts, the balanced budget was more smoke than not, especially since no one on either side fought to maintain the mythical budget caps. Congress has been lax about fiscal sanity far longer than just the last decade. Both parties fill their budgets with pork. And I don’t see a lot of effort on the minority party to make real changes.

Yes, the Republicans control the process since they have the numbers, but don’t assume that Democrats are any more fiscally responsible. This is clearly a bi-partisan failure.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous LiberPaul said...

Ken, true. At least the dems were honest, they said they wanted our money, they took it and wasted it.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Ken Grandlund said...

Yes, Paul, and honesty is important. Not an excuse for irresponsible use of tax dollars, but honest. And in fairness, many Democratic programs have the aim to actually help people who need help or protect us from the excesses of capitalism. Sadly though, the Democratic party reliance on massive bureaucracy (historically) creates great waste and opportunity for fraud. On the other hand, Republicans primarily want the money to help the rich stay rich while the rest of us foot their bills.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I think it’s BS to not give credit to Clinton. Math is math. The economy did better, in terms of growth compared with size of the defict — more bang for the government buck — than the trickle-down economies managed by Reagan, Bush or Bush.

You can blame circumstances, but if a Republican had been president when the 1990s growth occurred, you know full well every conservative talk show host would be touting it as a success story.

Bush’s economic program is like Reagan’s. It’s growth on a credit card, except the bills are twice as large as under Reagan. It’s not fiscally conservative, or fiscally responsible. It’s just corporate welfare and pork and programs to benefit wealthy Republican contributors.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Ken Grandlund said...

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying Bush or the republicans past or present have done great things for our economy. The practice of living beyond our means goes back quite a ways though. That just doesn’t mean that democrats are more responsible with tax dollars the way the whole system is set up.

Further, the economy of the late 90’s and the increased tax receipts was in large part due to dollars which defied the normal model of capitalistic growth in that they represented gains on empty air, so to speak.

Granted, Clinton made some great strides to take advantage of those receipts and attempt to rein in the budget, but the surplus, as it was, was not really like having tons of extra cash pour into the public vaults. Accounting can be manipulated much like polls, as we’ve since learned in major corporate scandals. As I said, the big surplus was in Social Security receipts, which have since been looted.

Personally, I think the economy is too great a beast for any single person to take credit for. It is possible for policies to create shifts in economic direction, but no one person can take all the credit or all the blame for our national economy. In a very real sense, the American people share some of the blame for the economic problems we face. As a whole, we save less and spend more than most nations on the planet. We don’t demand fiscal responsibility from our politicians because we don’t practice it ourselves.

Yes- the deficit has exploded since 2000, largely because of inept presidential policy. But the congress also had to go along with the budget and any group of real fiscal watchdogs could have banded together to prevent such a big expansion of debt. Again, our elected officials have not made fiscal responsibility a priority, and we have not forced them to be accountable. But, the largest part of the deficit problems come from the war in Iraq, corporate bail-outs (or hand outs) and irresponsibly targeted tax cuts and these are problems Bush has brought upon us.

I still stand by what I said. No party in Washington DC is immune from blame. No one has the temerity to stop the flow of tax dollars into ill-conceived programs. And no political party seems to want to make a real change.

To me, Bush’s fiscal record is just another reason not to support him or believe anything he says. But I can hardly look at the historical record and say I have confidence in Democrats to do much differently. Until politicians recognize the tax dollars are not their private slush fund, until the federal government reduces and reforms its spending habits, we’re all being taken for a ride.

11:12 AM  

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