gop defecit watch
Briefly noted in the WaPo: Budget Deficit May Surpass $450 Billion
War, tax cuts and a third year of a flailing economy may push this year's budget deficit past $450 billion, according to congressional sources familiar with new White House budget forecasts. That would be 50 percent higher than the Bush administration forecast five months ago.
The deficit projection due out today is nearly $50 billion more than economists anticipated just last week, and it underscores the continuing deterioration of the government's fortunes since 2000, when the Treasury posted a $236 billion surplus. That represents a fiscal reversal exceeding $680 billion.
"It's shock and awe," said a senior Republican Senate aide.
The 2003 forecast -- part of the White House's annual midterm budget update -- easily tops the previous record $290 billion deficit of 1992, even when adjusted for inflation. The red ink now exceeds the entire military budget. Measured against the size of the economy, however, the deficit still has not reached the levels of the Reagan era. It also may prove slightly inflated, because it includes some White House policy proposals that may not be enacted this year.
Still, the political ramifications began to manifest themselves even before the new numbers were officially released. Yesterday, the nonpartisan Concord Coalition, a deficit watchdog group, declared the first six months of this year "the most fiscally irresponsible in recent memory," as Congress and the administration embarked on "a schizophrenic pursuit of small government tax policies and big government spending initiatives. . . . Policymakers need to stop the hemorrhage of red ink, face up to the necessary trade-offs and negotiate a new balanced budget plan."
Bush and his pet GOP Congress are writing checks that, sooner or later, taxpayers will have to cash. How cowardly, and how typical.