Bush Budget Follies

Once again it’s time for the Bush Fantasy Budget. Here’s a roundup of commentary, starting with Eric Alterman:

You can skip “The Note” today, and almost every article written about the Bush “budget.” Typical of Bush, it’s a lie from start to finish. The Times notes “omissions include any costs for the war in Iraq after 2007, any additional reconstruction costs for New Orleans after 2006 and any plan for preventing a huge expansion in the alternative minimum tax after the end of this year,” and that’s just for starters, here. Bush has done to the country’s fiscal sanity what he’s done to Iraq’s physical infrastructure. We are talking shortfalls of trillions of dollars, all to no useful purpose. Congrats to all his enablers on all fronts, including the Washington Post’s Kool-Aid drinking Amy Goldstein who writes, with a straight-face that this phony-baloney budget is aimed “taming the deficit to satisfy conservatives, who complain that Bush has presided over a rapid expansion of federal spending.” Here. This is the kind of MSM reporting that backed up Bush on claims like “You can’t talk about Saddam Hussein without talking about Al-Qaida.”

New York Times

President Bush’s $2.77 trillion budget is fiction masquerading as fact, a governmental version of the made-up memoirs that have been denounced up and down the continent lately. The spending proposal is built around the pretense that the same House and Senate that are set to consider a record deficit of $423 billion will now impose a virtual freeze on everything other than Pentagon and homeland security outlays. The budget writers even fantasized an end to Social Security’s lump-sum death benefit — a whopping $255 per recipient — as if Congress would dare to do something so heartless and easy to exploit in an election year.

The point of all these imaginary financial projections is to give the president leeway to cement in place hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts the nation can ill afford and does not need. The cuts were made temporary in the first place because there was no way to even pretend that budgets could be balanced in the future with such an enormous loss of revenue.

Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe

IF GEORGE W. BUSH had been candid when he stood in the House chamber last week to report to the nation, here’s one thing he would have said: ”My fellow Americans, we are steadily squandering our children’s future.” …

…Although they favor very different remedies, a remarkable consensus exists among fiscal experts, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum, about the magnitude of our budgetary problems.

”I just came from a panel with [former OMB director] Alice Rivlin of Brookings and Bob Bixby from the Concord Coalition, and we couldn’t stop agreeing on the long-term budget danger,” Brian Riedl, chief budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said on Friday. ”We may disagree on the solution, but among economists and think tanks, there is not much disagreement that the budget deficits within the next five, 10, or 20 years will reach levels that are practically unheard of.”

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post:

The roots of our fiscal madness, on display once again yesterday with the unveiling of President Bush’s new budget and its deficit in excess of $350 billion, were planted on Oct. 27, 1990. …

… Ever since Bush 41’s defeat in 1992, Republicans — especially Bush 43 — have committed themselves to the proposition that they will never, ever cross the tax-cutting Republican right. Taxes will be cut in good times and in bad. They will not be raised, no matter how much the government decides to spend. If preserving Republican unity requires throwing the entire cost of the war in Iraq onto the next generation, go for it. Does the Pentagon need big spending increases? Fine, but don’t even think about paying for them with new taxes.

Tax cutting is now the idol of the Republican shrine.

Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post

The president’s budget acknowledges the cost of Bush’s call to make his tax cuts permanent — $1.35 trillion over the next decade and nearly $120 billion in 2011 alone. But beyond 2007, the budget assumes no military expenditures in Iraq or Afghanistan and no effort to address the unintended effects of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax system that was designed to hit the rich but has instead increasingly pinched the middle class. It also assumes Congress will cut domestic spending every year after 2007.

Those factors led Goldman Sachs economists to tell clients yesterday that the deficit forecasts are “unrealistic.” …

… “This budget is not going to happen,” said Stanley E. Collender, a federal budget analyst at Financial Dynamics Business Communications. “Of all the budgets I’ve seen recently, this is the one going nowhere the fastest.”

Hale Stewart, BOP News:

The logic here is baffling at best. Bush has continually stated he wants to half the deficit (which he created — he inherited a surplus and three consecutive balanced budgets). Yet, he continually proposes spending cuts that are disproportionate to his revenue decreases. According to the CBO, overall revenues have increased 8.16% since 2001 while overall spending has increased 32.68%. … They continually use special appropriations for Afghanistan and Iraq. As a result, the budget does not contain the cost of both campaigns. This allows the administration to play hide the ball regarding the overall cost.

Max Sawicky, TPM Cafe:

There will be many more shoes to drop regarding the Bush Administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2007, to be released today. I want to hit a quick one. By now it is pretty widely understood that the destabilizing element in the budget in the long run is health care, which means Medicare and Medicaid. All cuts proposed today and performed thus far have completely neglected this elementary fact. Worse, the Administration substantially worsened Medicare funding by adding a drug benefit with no accompanying revenue.

Otherwise, it’s a great budget. (sarcasm off)

9 thoughts on “Bush Budget Follies

  1. Well,like they say to people who are out of control..Until you hit a bottom, you can’t begin to pick yourself up.
    I say, bring it on.Let’s run this country completely into the ground, both morally and economically. Then we can begin the work of restoration. Bush has been successful in circumventing the law, but the one law he won’t be able to get around is the law of reality. His little fantasy world is going to catch up with him soon.

    I was thrilled to read about the diss Bush got at Coretta Scott King’s memorial service, unfortunantely, I don’t think Bush is getting the message…Billions for a needless war,and nothing for poverty.

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  3. I believe a little incentive to stay in school should be appreciated. When the kids drop out of school, they are setting themselves the up for a life of welfare. When the death benefits run out where will they turn? My tax dollars again, thats where. The governement does have a burden to care for the poor, hurting, etc, but I believe they also have the burden of encouraging self reliance. Is it better to feed a man for 12 days or teach that man in 12 days how to provide for his lifetime?

    As far as the death benefit, what is $255 exactly going to accomplish? Gas to the funeral?

  4. The governement does have a burden to care for the poor, hurting, etc, but I believe they also have the burden of encouraging self reliance.

    If you haven’t noticed, with Bushies only the poor need to be self-reliant. If you’re rich and well-connected the federal government is a cornucopia of goodies.

  5. Not only is Bush actively shafting the most vulnerable among us, his mean-spirited ‘leadership’ policies are actively creating more poverty and more vulnerability and hopelessness for millions of citizens..

    He and his gang aren’t patriots who care about America’s future……….rather they enjoy feeling superior and powerful as they set themselves to destroy the common good, destroy America’s good name in the world, and destroy economic security for the middle class—all the while hiding their own class’ thefts of tax dollars behind slogans.

    To be blunt, they are thieves.

    To James…..what incentive do you suggest for kids to stay in school? How about cutting student loans for needy kids wanting to go to college, as the Republicans just did? Incentive or not?

  6. How much will Bushes Medicare cuts affect his medical care? Not at all? My! My! He decides we die while he grows fat and sassy. Something wrong here? Oh! My goodness! Think about it. Tom

  7. We need to prepare for the Baby Boomers and start cutting back on government spending. I think Bush’s budget did not go far enough in trimming government coffers.

    In about 10 – 15 years, there will be no way that we can afford to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    We could radically increase taxes. However, this will cripple future generations. We can increase the budget deficit. But it will lead to serious systemic risks to our economy. We should reduce benefits promised during a previous era of prosperity in our country. Of course, we can try a combination of all three, but we would be left with a situation akin to eurosclerosis.

    We must make the painful choice of reducing benefits and reshaping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to care for the very neediest in our country. It will be hard, but the demographic trend is inexorable.

    Reality shouts that this is not a Republican or Democrat issue.

  8. Aaron…check your facts, please. In 1983, Social Security law was changed whereby the ss. taxes every worker paid every paycheck were increased SPECIFICALLY so the Social Security Trust Fund would grow enough to cover costs of the baby boomer retirements.

    Guess what……po;iticians starting with Reagan then began sleight-of hand ‘Enronomics’ federal budgeting by spending the Social Security trust fund monies for other government programs [leaving iou’s in the fund] all the while making themselves seem like heroes in cutting income and other taxes which always most benefit those who make money with money, not those who make money with their hands.

    The raiding by Bush and Co. continues big time of those trust funds which were designed for and were always meant to provide for coming boomer retirements.

    This is not a matter of Social Security [a mighty successful program] being in trouble….this is a matter of the politicians realizing that the boomers will soon retire and the jig is up about all those iou’s. The spendthrift politicians DO NOT WANT TO PAY BACK THE MONEY THEY USED OUT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND, because the only fair way to do so would be to take up a new tax collection from those who benefited most from tax cuts all those years during which the little guy kept paying his increased social security taxes.

    No cutting back of lifestyle is expected of those who got great wealth from ‘tax cuts’ during the Reagan years, or those who gain even more through the Bush ‘tax cuts.’

    I repeat the background history: all the masses of common folk have been paying more each and every paycheck since 1983 into a system promising them a minimum in retirement to barely stave off old-age poverty……. but because the government ‘leaders’ liked to ‘borrow’ the ‘little people’s social security funds without a plan to return what was borrowed, the government now faces a financial crisis BECAUSE the government owes trillions [yes trillions] to the little people.

    And you suggest the coming crisis should be handled by punishing those who were wronged in the first place! Push into real poverty all those work-with-their hands folk who had their savings funds raided!!!

    Try again to think this through, please.

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