Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Bush Brags About $296 Billion Deficit and Kool-aid Drunken Repugs Cheer. Can the Bar for this President Be Any Lower?
With the new budget deficit numbers out, a reasonable expectation would be that President Bush would not only be sequestered at the Crawford ranch clearing brush, he'd be hiding in it too. Yet unlike any other president in history, this one believes a $296 billion deficit is actually something to brag about. It only goes to show that the Busheviks are so desperate for anything even remotely positive to tout that they'd use the deficit as something to be proud of. The performance bar is set so low for Bush that his operatives can now astonishingly point to a colossal failure and paint it as a success. In essence today, the 'good' news from Bush was that the news was not as horrifying as it could have been; that the previously projected $423 billion deficit for this year would be $127 billion smaller. Whoopee. Give the man a cookie. Is it too much to ask of this administration that they be measured against the Clinton days of record surpluses? Apparently so.
Before a White House gathering of curiously excited Republicans Tuesday, Bush cited his tax policies as being the great fix for the economy: "The increase in tax revenue is much bigger that we had projected, and it's helping us cut the budget deficit...Our policies are working." What Bush forgot to remind everyone was that, while indeed last year's $318 billion deficit has shrunk somewhat, the $296 billion '06 deficit represents an almost $1-trillion swing from the $600 billion '06 surplus his administration projected in 2001. But only to the Busheviks can policies that turn a projected $600 billion surplus into a roughly $300 billion deficit be viewed as "working." That the revised dreadful projection of $423 billion for '06 was reduced to a less dreadful $296 billion is certainly nothing to cheer.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) remarked, a deficit "smaller than $300 billion, is that anything to brag about? I think not."
Further bursting the Bushevik bubble is that the deficit is projected to increase next year to $339 billion, a result of declining tax revenue. Rob Portman, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the Treasury Department projects just 2.7% revenenue growth for '07.
The contrast to the Clinton years are startling. Since Bush took office in 2001, the federal budget has gone from four years of surpluses under Clinton--the longest run of black ink since before the 1920's--to record deficits. And Tuesday's rah-rah session by Bush did not address the concerns economists have about the future. They cite record spending, the Iraq war, Social Security obligations, the Medicare prescription drug program and a reduction in the estate tax as negatively impacting the economy in the coming years.
The Center on Budget Policy noted that while a reduction in the deficit is always welcome, the 2006 reduction isn't going to change the long-term fiscal outlook.
And while VP Dick Cheney might think "deficits don't matter," The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan fiscal policy watchdog, notes that the interest on U.S. debt is the fastest growing category of government spending.