January 02, 2005
The Bush Administration Clown Show Continues
Edmund Andrews reports on another phony budget coming down the pike from the Bushies:
The New York Times > Washington > In Plan to Reduce Deficit, White House Turns to Old Projections: To show that President Bush can fulfill his campaign promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009, White House officials are preparing a budget that will assume a significant jump in revenues and omit the cost of major initiatives like overhauling Social Security.... [A]dministration officials have decided to measure their progress against a $521 billion deficit they predicted last February rather than last year's actual shortfall of $413 billion.... But White House budget planners are not stopping there. Administration officials are also invoking optimistic assumptions about rising tax revenue while excluding costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as trillions of dollars in costs that lie just outside Mr. Bush's five-year budget window.
The five-year plan, due in February, is likely to reaffirm previous predictions of a $217 billion surge in tax revenues in 2005, the biggest one-year jump on record, and almost $800 billion a year by 2009.... As in past years, the budget will exclude costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which could reach $100 billion in 2005 and are likely to remain high for years to come. The budget is also expected to exclude Mr. Bush's goal to replace Social Security in part with a system of private savings accounts, even though administration officials concede that such a plan could require the government to borrow $2 trillion over the next decade or two. Among the costs that are expected in the five years after 2009 are nearly $1 trillion to make Mr. Bush's tax cuts permanent, nearly $500 billion for the new Medicare prescription drug program and at least $400 billion to address widely acknowledged problems with the so-called alternative minimum tax.
Many analysts are dubious about the long-term plan. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that deficits will remain well above $300 billion if Mr. Bush's tax cuts are made permanent and if Iraq war costs taper off gradually. On Wall Street, analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that budget deficits will total about $5 trillion over the next 10 years.
"I've been watching this more than 30 years, and I have never seen anything quite this egregious," said Stanley Collender, a longtime author on budget issues and a senior vice president at Financial Dynamics, a communications firm in Washington. "They are cutting the deficit from a number they never believed in the beginning," Mr. Collender said, referring to the decision to measure progress against the unrealized $521 billion deficit projection. "What if they had forecast that the deficit would be $800 billion last year? Would they take credit for having cut it by half?"...
Administration officials are omitting a second big group of costs for goals Mr. Bush has identified but not formally proposed. By far the biggest of these is his plan to privatize Social Security in part and let people divert some of their payroll taxes to private accounts. Republican and Democratic analysts alike say the proposal would require the government to incur "transition costs" of $2 trillion.... Administration officials say any such transition costs should be treated separately from the regular budget, because they would eventually be recouped as benefits decline sharply over the next 75 years.... But the... administration... is already using surplus revenues in the Social Security trust fund to cover part of the annual budget deficit. The Social Security and Medicare trust funds took in about $146 billion more than they paid out in benefits in the last fiscal year, which reduced the government's overall deficit to $413 billion from about $560 billion....
Another major cost that will be excluded from Mr. Bush's budget stems from the alternative minimum tax.... [R]epealing the tax would reduce projected tax revenues by $87 billion in 2009 alone and more than $500 billion by the end of 2014. Almost none of that expense is expected to be in Mr. Bush's coming budget....
Posted by DeLong at January 2, 2005 11:27 AM
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But I look at this New York Times article Brad DeLong pointed out, and am struck dumb by the sheer scale of the Bush administration's mendacity and malfeasance: To show that President Bush can fulfill his campaign promise to cut the deficit in half...[Read More]
Tracked on January 4, 2005 08:45 AM
I just did my own budget for the year, employing their philosophy.
This year I decided to not include any of my projected debt payments or other expenses.
As a result, I'm happy to report that I will have no debt and will be able to save 100% of my income!
Posted by: paul at January 2, 2005 12:09 PM
Before you make too big a fuss about this, remember the government can put you in prison for ever without trial.
Posted by: Big Al at January 2, 2005 01:14 PM
IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.
Posted by: spencer at January 2, 2005 01:52 PM
Yes, it's a clown show. Bush and his administration are either clueless morons or artless conmen.
But the shit is starting to get really serious. The budget is a catastrophe, and I truly fear global depression is looming as foreign countries become incapable of supporting our extravagance.
Can we possibly sound the tocsins, awake some adult Republicans, and maybe avert disaster?
Posted by: Derelict at January 2, 2005 01:54 PM
In Freudian psychology, the ID is the part of us that remains unconcious and carries out the tasks of running our bodily systems, impelling us to satisfy our needs for survival and protecting ourselves with either a fight or flight response to danger.
The problems with it is that the ID does not learn, knows not good or bad, has no sense of time and is completely without self awareness, it can only wish for satisfaction. The struggle to become a human adult involves splitting off and nurturing an Ego which can learn, plan for the future, postpone gratification, and adjust our mental map to reflect a changing reality.
Sometimes we have some trouble keeping the Ego in control, but sometimes it gets completely lost and overwhelmed and the ID takes over a person's life, demanding instant gratification and refusing to accept the need to adjust its inner image of the world to reflect reality.
I think that if we look at our political and economic society we see a being whose Ego has been overwhelmed, values lost, wishes and delusions projected as reality, overwhlemed beyond all reason by threats to survival that really are not credible threats. The Bush presidency and the policies of his govenment are not the cause of this, but the RESULT of it.
Our society is in a state of real psychic illness. I don't think poltics is going to be sufficient to return us to health.
Posted by: pragmatic_realist at January 2, 2005 02:33 PM
Apparently Bushco thinks military power trumps and manifests enough 'purported' global economic power so they continue to sell "Fantasyland' masked in endless false perceptions and lies to 51% of mostly ignorant, clueless, and intellectually lazy Americans which includes the 1- 2% elites.
I believe over the next 4 yrs more Americans are going to be 'sobered up' by the continuing economic malaise that cannot be so readily covered up in Bush term 2 e.g. more fiscal irresponsibility with continued massive budget and trade deficits, Bush's war on entitlement programs esp social security and medicare/medicaid, more dollar devaluation with higher interest rates and inflation, continued outsourcing, downsizing, and Walmartization of America. This will likely foster a lowered standard of living for many more middle class Americans.
After the Nov 2004 election I'm convined the ONLY issues that Americans pay close attention to are economic ones that affect them personally. These next 4 yrs. will be 'sobering' for many middle class Americans who are being sold down the river and already are living well beyond their means. Perhaps in 2006 and definitely by 2008 they will know firsthand why Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible President in American history where the label "destroyer of middle class America" may finally stick.
But by then the Bush admin clown show would have wreaked economic havoc and clueless Americans will finally realize that massive deficits do indeed matter.
Posted by: standa at January 2, 2005 03:09 PM
It is somewhat astonishing -- to my naivete, I guess -- that a democratic country can really come to this. This is the kind of "mad emperor" stuff that one associates with what used to be called "Oriental despotism," but with half the population joining in, as though the Roman populace sang along with Nero's fiddle while Rome burned.
Posted by: SqueakyRat at January 2, 2005 03:36 PM
Grab your fire extinguishers because the whole shithouse is going up in flames...
Posted by: The Fool at January 2, 2005 08:13 PM
They are such liars. It is unbelievable. They are trying to convince us there is a huge Social Security crisis by projecting liabilities to infinite time, but don't include the cost of the wars we're actually fighting in their budget plan? I can't believe this clown is going to serve another 4 yrs. Why does anyone think Republicans are fiscally responsible?
Posted by: Unstable Isotope at January 3, 2005 07:58 AM