May 3, 2002


Window of Ignorance (PAUL KRUGMAN, May 3, 2002, NY Times)
In fiscal 2000 the federal budget was in surplus by $236 billion. This year's deficit will be more than $100 billion, possibly more than $150 billion. Only the Treasury Department knows exactly how much money is coming in, but the renewed push to raise the debt limit, which will allow the government to borrow more money, suggests that the news is grim indeed. A year ago Treasury officials said they could stay within the current debt limit until 2008; in April they said they could make it into June; now they say they'll hit the wall in a couple of weeks. [...]

How did a huge surplus turn into a huge deficit?

It's hard to view the budget deficit as huge when it's only about the size of our annual farm subsidies, which we all recognize are a waste of money and, even worse, a transfer payment to the wealthy. You could balance the budget by getting rid of the Agriculture department and its attendant programs and have almost no deleterious effect on the American economy. But we haven't the political will to do so.

We have a big budget and high taxes because people want the government to pay for stuff; get over it; we conservatives have. We tried pointing out how stupid this system is for sixty years and it got us nowhere (except permanent minority party status); so we shut up.

Mr. Krugman's argument isn't actually with President Bush, it's with the American people, who are unfortunately sacrosanct in such discussions. Until people like him (on the Left) are willing to join with the Right and call for a significant rollback of the Federal government, it's not going to happen.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 3, 2002 12:45 PM
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