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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Here's An Idea

I got my laugh this morning reading the Washington Post story "Painting a Rosy Budget Picture", which probably should have been on the opinion page based on it's tone, but was put in the politics section.

The laugh came from Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, who complained that the budget numbers due this week area sham. You see the deficit will fall to $250 billion, from the estimated $512 Billion predecited two years ago. Mr. Conrad claims it's smoke and mirrors, because the Social Security surplus is included in those numbers. While he is correct in that assertation, the truth is, the $300 billion surplus that writers claim we'd have if we were still following the "Clinton policy" would be just as much smoke and mirrrors. That budget policy used the exact same math to come up with it's numbers.

Supply Siders and Kenysian's will argue until the end of time whether the Bush tax cuts were good for the economy or horrible for revenue (which is higher than ever), but here's an idea that most of the country would probably get behind.

Since, according to a number of leaders on the left the major problem with the economy is the wreckless spending of the last five years; something I tend to agree with; why not, as your election year promise, tell the voters you'll leave taxes untouched, and cut federal spending to balance the budget?

In fact, tell the voters you'd go back to 2003 levels of spending, pre Iraq war numbers, which based on the current budget and income numbers would give an immediate balanced budget.

There is of course a reason you won't hear this, because it can't be done. Too much of the "wreckless spending" has been earmarked junk for both sides of the aisle. To get the numbers down to 2003 levels, a lot of that pork would have to go away, and lawmakers aren't about to agree to kill funding to pet projects in their districts.

The other reason is "entitlement programs", the sacred cows of the budget naturally grow every year, Social Security and Medicare faster than others. Again going back to Mr. Conrad, the way we currently do the Federal Budget, Social Security receipts and outlays are included in the bottom line numbers. We'd have to freeze Social Security at the 2003 level to get to that balanced budget number.

In fact, to get to the 2003 levels, the Medicare prescription drug benefit that many democrats complain about, but 83% of Seniors have a favorable opinion of, would have to be scrapped. Anyone old enough to remember the 1980's "Catastrophic Cap" fiasco knows how well that would go over.

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1Comments:

Blogger shoprat said...

Part of the problem with out of control spending is that Congress can't cut or the public will hang them out to dry. Everyone wants the budget cut, but don't touch the programs that benefit me. Any cuts at all will cost the votes of those affected and enough cuts and everyone will vote for other guy. This country doesn't have the political will at any level to cut the budget.

8:51 PM  

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