Sunday, February 13, 2005

What a downer

This story from WaPo is really depressing. It's all about the outlying years in a budget, and the outliers in Bush's budgets are years in which the deficit will balloon dramatically.

Bush's extensive tax cuts, the new Medicare prescription drug benefit and, if it passes, his plan to redesign Social Security all balloon in cost several years from now. His plan to partially privatize Social Security, for instance, would cost a total of $79.5 billion in the last two budgets that Bush will propose as president and an additional $675 billion in the five years that follow. New Medicare figures likewise show the cost almost twice as high as originally estimated, largely because it mushrooms long after the Bush presidency.
It's all thanks to GWB being an idiot. He may understand the process and how to get a budget passed in a Congress controlled by his party, but he does not understand numbers. He doesn't get that cuts here and tax breaks there are real numbers with consequences. And he really doesn't understand how to add 2 and 2 together. There is a silver lining, however. Some congressional Republicans are starting to understand that Bush is a dimwit who's just pushing the costs off to the next guy (like he did in Texas). They will fudge around the Medicare bill to cut the costs, even though he's threatened to veto any changes, and Social Security phase-out will be DOA in the Senate because Dems will fillibuster if they have to. The real silver lining is this, though:
"I think some adjustments need to be made," said Don Nickles, the recently retired Republican chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Nickles said the drug law will need to be reopened to address problems of skyrocketing costs. He also said that Congress will have to be selective in extending the tax cuts, dropping some of the cuts and perhaps modifying the estate tax repeal to keep some of the revenue.
That is a voice of sanity in the GOP... someone we can work with. So, things are not as bleak as they may look. We've got some people who actully want to do the peope's business in Washington, not give money to lobbyists so they can get a job in a few years.


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