Thursday, January 27, 2005

Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See

Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See
American Family Voices
It's been over a year since the Bush administration first unveiled its plan to cut the deficit in half, and President Bush spent a good portion of that time campaigning on that promise. It already looks to be in shambles.
First, let's dispense with the notion that aiming to cut the deficit in half is somehow a laudable goal for this administration. This is the same Bush team that squandered the Clinton surplus on reckless tax cuts – they didn't inherit this fiscal insolvency, it is of their own creation. So merely offering to cut it back is like a store offering you a 50 percent rebate – after it charged you ten times the advertised price. We'll hold the celebration for now, thanks.
Even worse, this Bush team can't even be trusted to follow through on its promise of minimal success. The White House announced yesterday that this year's projected deficit will be $427 billion (this figure includes a part of the $80 billion in supplemental spending for Iraq and Afghanistan). That's almost $100 billion higher than the projection they were offering last Summer during the campaign season. Imagine that.
It's pretty clear that fiscal responsibility isn't high on President Bush's agenda – after all, these deficit estimates do not include the potential $1-$2 trillion costs of Bush's suggested changes for Social Security. And that's not all: These deficit projections don't include the cost of making Bush's tax cuts permanent, a goal to which he has committed himself. The extra cost of that move would tack on a mind-boggling $2 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What's especially troubling now is that this irresponsibility is triggering discomfort from other countries around the world who are expecting America to pull its own economic weight. The United Nations has stated that America's bulging budget and trade deficits both threatened the global economic balance. The International Monetary Fund previously issued a similar warning.
"The message of our report is that the industrialized countries all have their own problems that will hurt growth…But the most challenging is the US twin deficits," said Jose Antonio Ocampo, the UN under secretary general for economic and social affairs.
And the Bush administration's solution of devaluing the dollar isn't helping, either. Countries across the globe are now also starting to grumble about the weak dollar, and it hasn't even brought about the desired effect of slashing our massive trade deficit.
So let's recap: President Bush's foreign policy decisions have alienated many of our traditional allies. His economic policies have created massive deficits here at home, while job growth isn't nearly as impressive as the White House predicted. Now, even his economic policies are causing international disfavor. It's like a perfect circle of bad policy decisions. And it once again shows that, for a man who claims to be committed to creating growth here at home and fostering strong relationships abroad, President Bush is simultaneously doing neither.