Tuesday, January 25, 2005

 

In other words, it's bad but we don't know how bad

Wouldn't you like to be able to make out your budget without bothering to include a major ongoing expense plus major purchases you expect to make over the next year?
Budget Office Predicts $368 Billion Deficit This Year

By JOHN O'NEIL

The Congressional Budget Office predicted today that the federal government will run a deficit of $368 billion this year, a figure that does not include a request that administration officials plan to unveil later today for $80 billion more in funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The figure also does not include the cost or savings from any of the proposals President Bush is expected to make in the budget he will submit to Congress shortly.

The deficit for the 2004 budget year was $412 billion, representing 3. 6 percent of the nation's total economic activity. The deficit projection for this year, excluding growth in military spending and other budget changes, would represent 3 percent, the budget office said..

Last year's deficit was the largest ever in dollar terms, although the deficits run under President Reagan in the 1980's were larger as a percentage of the economy. President Bush pledged during last year's campaign to cut the deficit in half by 2009, and aides have said that his new budget will include a number of spending cuts.

Spending on military operations, however, seems likely to continue to grow.

The request for $80 billion would bring projected spending on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to $105 billion for the 2005 fiscal year - a figure that far exceeds the administration's pre-war estimates of overall costs.

The spending in 2005 would bring the total cost of the two conflicts to almost $300 billion.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also projected the 2006 budget deficit at $296 billion, and released a 10-year fiscal projection that estimated budget shortfalls over the next decade at $855 billion, down from its projection last year of $2.3 trillion. But the new reported noted that the 10-year figure, like the projection for the coming year, would predict larger shortfalls if the full amount actually being spent on the conflicts were included.

Long-term budget estimates are notoriously unreliable, being based on assumptions both about economic activity and policy decisions yet to come. The budget agency stressed that the figures are not meant as a hard and fast prediction, but as a benchmark that policy makers can use to inform decisions about new proposals.

The estimates also exclude the cost of measures the president plans to introduce when he submits his budget to Congress next month. Those include the partial privatizing of Social Security, which would require up to $2 trillion over the next decade to make up for money being diverted into personal accounts; the extension of tax cuts passed in Mr. Bush's first term, which would cut revenues by an estimated $1.8 trillion over 10 years; and the $350 million pledged by President Bush for tsunami relief efforts. Many members of Congress also favor easing the impact of the alternative minimum tax on middle-class families, a change that the budget office estimates would cut revenues by almost $500 billion over the decade.
Anyone who believes the deficit will be $368 billion or less is fooling himself. I bet, if you add in the cost of the war, it'll be $450 billion at least. A war fought over a lie, a war the motherfucking liars in the White House and Pentagon promised would pay for itself (not that I ever believed that, but obviously they must have thought most Americans would).

Fuck these fucking bastards. They're ruining this country, mortgaging our future for their rancid imperial dreams.
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