Star Tribune:
"Outlandish spin" on the Bush budget

A surprisingly critical editorial in today's edition of the usually moderate Minneapolis Star Tribune:
When the White House reported Monday that the federal deficit for 2003 came in below expectations -- a mere $374 billion -- President Bush's aides were quick to celebrate. "We can put the deficit on a reasonable downward path if we continue progrowth economic policies and exercise responsible spending restraint," budget director Joshua Bolten told the Wall Street Journal.

This outlandish spin is an insult to the nation's taxpayers and suggests that the White House is reading its own budget documents as badly as it read the prewar intelligence on Iraq. A new report by two respected budget watchdogs -- the probusiness Committee for Economic Development and the hawkish Concord Coalition -- shows that the federal budget outlook is now the worst in the nation's history and that the Bush administration is doing absolutely nothing to fix it.

White House aides continue to predict that federal deficits are shrinking. But look at what they omit from their calculations: $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, $400 billion to overhaul Medicare, $500 billion for Bush's defense buildup and $1.8 trillion to extend the "temporary" tax cuts passed recently by Congress.

Factor in these realities, Concord says, and the federal deficit is not getting smaller, it is getting bigger. The group estimates that the federal deficit will never fall below $420 billion any time in the next 10 years -- each one a record -- and that within a decade interest payments alone will consume 15 cents of every dollar the taxpayer sends to Washington...
Read the entire editorial.

(Thanks, Andy.)

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