Friday, June 20, 2003

Ballooning deficit just ignored - Tax cuts chosen over fiscal responsibility

Nobody is paying any attention to the budget deficit. Last month the House Budget Committee's Democrats forecast a deficit of nearly $500 billion. Last week the Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit would balloon to a record $400 billion-plus.

But when Mitch Daniels left as director of the Office of Management and Budget two weeks ago to run for governor of Indiana, he said the government is "fiscally in fine shape." Good grief! During his 29-month tenure, he (and the Bush administration) turned a $5.6 trillion, 10-year budget surplus into a $4 trillion deficit. If this is good fiscal policy, thank heavens Daniels is gone.

Bush and Daniels used to talk about how they would repay the nation's debt more quickly than any administration in history. Before 9/11, the president bragged that his budget reserved $1 trillion for unforeseen circumstances. The war on terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq had an impact, but the real culprit, according to the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, is that this president has cut $3.12 trillion in revenue since taking office. These are the largest tax cuts in history, yet the administration claims they have no relationship to the record deficits. Amazingly, he asks for more.

The London-based Financial Times recently reported the Treasury Department projection that at the present rate, fixing the deficit would require "the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase."


THIS is Bush's America, welcome to it.



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