January 16, 2007


Burden Set to Shift On Balanced Budget: Bush Likely to Force Democrats' Hand (Lori Montgomery and Nell Henderson, January 16, 2007, Washington Post)

When he takes the House rostrum next week for the State of the Union address, President Bush will list among his goals a balanced federal budget, a shift for a president who has presided over record deficits while aggressively cutting taxes.

Politically, analysts say, the president is calling the bluff of Democrats, who won control of Congress in part by accusing Bush of reckless fiscal policies. While Bush now shares the Democrats' goal to erase the deficit by 2012, the politically perilous work of making that happen -- cutting spending or raising taxes -- falls to the Democratic-run Congress. [...]

Budget experts and economists from across the political spectrum, including some who worked in the Bush White House, say that Bush is unlikely to offer real concessions toward a balanced budget in the plan he delivers to Congress next month. [...]

Historically, the deficit is not particularly large. During Bush's presidency, it peaked at $413 billion in 2004, the biggest ever in dollars. At 3.6 percent of economic output, however, it did not approach the historic high, in 1943 during World War II, when the deficit exceeded 30 percent of gross domestic product . Last year, the deficit dropped to $258 billion, or about 1.8 percent of the economy.

In fact, there's a greater danger that U.S. debt could go too low to sustain the global economy than that it would go too high to sustain our own. But it's just another easy way to twist the Democrats in knots.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2007 9:18 AM
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