Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What Was It Cheney Said About Deficits?

Oh yeah, something like they don't matter. I remember Ron Suskind wrote a book about it last year and talked about it with Ray Suarez.

RON SUSKIND: No. No. And in the book, I mean look, Paul trips and bumps his head and asks questions that, you know, are befuddled and he says, "Now, why is this the way it is?"

But I think it's important that people understand that O'Neill is essentially searching for the essence of this president and this presidency all through the book, and he does find some things. He finds out that, in large measure, he's dealing with at least in some realms a kind of absolutism. He talks to Dick Cheney at the end, after O'Neill says, "We really need an economic policy, we don't really have one." And he confronts the president and says, "We don't need this second giant tax cut." And Dick Cheney says to O'Neill, "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the midterm elections. Our due is another big tax cut." And I paraphrased the end. This stuns O'Neill because all of the facts, as O'Neill has read them and many others, show that deficits have guided fiscal policy for 20 years. Those are the kind of dialogues that define this man's journey and really the journey of many in the building.

The bipartisan CBO released a report today that doesn't bode well for our financial situation in the short or long-term. And it puts me in a cussing mood. We all know it isn't true and have known it for a long time. But where has the press been on this one? Typically, out-to-lunch. The news just keeps getting worse.

The CBO's annual report on the budget outlook foresees a deficit of $400 billion this year. It also forecast a cumulative deficit of $1.3 trillion from 2005 to 2014, an increase of nearly 60% from the CBO's $861-billion estimate of just four months ago.
These figures take into account some of the administration's request today for another $80 billion for the war in Iraq, but they do not assume an extension. Nor do they assume the likely extension by Congress of some major tax cuts that were enacted in 2001 and 2003 and are scheduled to expire in 2009 and 2011.
The near-term deficits pale beside the CBO's admittedly rough projections for 2030, when all the baby boom generation will have reached eligibility for Social Security and Medicare.

If they keep growing at current rates, those two programs plus Medicaid for the poor will be nearly as large a share of the national economy as the entire budget is now, the CBO said.

CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters that the programs would have to be reined in before that happened. Otherwise, he said, taxes would have to rise to intolerable levels or the government would have to borrow so much money that interest payments would spiral out of control.

"You can't borrow it forever," Holtz-Eakin said. "I don't think you can say deficits don't matter. They matter a lot.

Bush, Cheney, Snow, Frist, Greenspan, Hastert, Delay and the whole lot of them. Fuckers. They are beneath the term but I just had to say it.

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