eat pizza to lose weight: the bush deficit diet
Michael Kinsely in Slate on the ludicrous dishonesty of Bush's budget scheme:
[T]his is essentially the logic adopted by the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership to rationalize turning the federal budget surplus back into huge deficits. They say that deficits are actually a good thing—despite what you may have heard from Ronald Reagan and almost every Republican before and since—because deficits create pressure for smaller government. ...The Bushies apparently would rather be thought of as insanely Machiavellian than as shamefully irresponsible.
Kinsley goes on to spell out exactly why this is a stupid idea, and then moves in for the kill:
Republicans now control the White House and both houses of Congress. ...And self-labeled conservatives are pretty much in control in the party itself. There is nothing to stop President Bush and his congressional cohorts from proposing, enacting, and imposing any vision they may have about the proper size of government and method of financing it. They don't need wacky behavioral schemes and incentives.
The administration's 2004 budget documents include long-run projections, based on its own policy wish list and its own economic assumptions, that show growing deficits from now until … forever. If Bush really believes that increasing deficits in general, and its own policies in particular, will produce smaller government and more fiscal responsibility, why don't his own numbers reflect this? In the fine print, it seems, the Bush folks don't really believe any such thing. And why should they? It's ridiculous.
There's also this:
Although Republicans insist that bigger deficits will lead to smaller government, it would be equally plausible to argue that they will lead to higher taxes.
Of course, but the GOP is no doubt counting on the Democrats to bite the bullet and do the right and honorable things by raising taxes. Even George H. W. Bush famously recognized that such action was sometimes necessary, and the conservatives never forgave him for it. Dubya might recognize that someone will eventually do what it takes to fix his train wreck of the budget, but he has no intention of even being honest about it, let alone making any hard choices.
(via Ted Barlow)