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November 02, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Budget Edition)

Sam Collender scolds the members of the press who want to please the Republican leadership by painting them as genuine deficit hawks. He writes:

BUDGET BATTLES: Apples And Oranges. By secollender@nationaljournal.com Stan Collender, http://NationalJournal.com © National Journal Group Inc. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2005: A little plain talk and a few numbers are needed to correct the confusion congressional leaders are creating by comparing fiscal apples with budget oranges.... [T]he $35 billion in cuts have absolutely nothing to do with offsetting the substantial additional costs of Katrina.... [A]ny attempt to re-characterize reconciliation as being wholly related to Katrina is budget spin at its worst.

The additional $15 billion in mandatory spending changes the House is considering as part of reconciliation and the approximately $8 billion in across-the-board domestic appropriations cuts are the only additional reductions that can conceivably be considered to be Katrina offsets.... The $15 billion... would occur over five years. By contrast, about $50 billion of the Katrina spending is expected to happen in fiscal 2006 alone.... These figures contradict the impression congressional leaders have been trying to create over the past few weeks that they are moving mountains to make sure that Katrina does not add to the deficit and the federal debt....

Posted by DeLong at November 2, 2005 09:55 AM