04 February 2004

Can you spare a trillion?

News item: President Bush submits $2.4 billion budget to Congress which calls for a deficit of almost half a trillion dollars.

As just a number, deficits are overrated.  The true measure of a deficit is how it compares to the Gross Domestic Product.  Usually a deficit is targeted to be no more than 3-5% of the country's GDP.  But if you spend some time researching it, no one can tell you what the deficit is anyway.  Every group has their own way of calculating it.  Today, a democrat will tell you that the deficit is huge and out of control, while a republican will say that it is not a big deal.  The opinions were reversed when there was supposed surplus during the late Clinton years.

Here's all that matters to me: the president was "elected" on the premise that he would cut everyone's taxes, which he has.  But he's nuts on spending.  Basic economics tells you that if you take in less revenue yet spend more, you're going to be in trouble.  To assume all the money saved on lower taxes will go back into the public sector is ridiculous.  People have to pay their bills first.

This president lost me economically when he insisted on going forward with his tax cuts while telling us that we were in a war time economy.  I would have been eternally impressed with him had he stood up before the nation and said "this is war, war calls for sacrifices, and I ask that you understand that I am taking your tax cut and putting it towards the war effort instead."

But that would never happen, of course.  The cost of a deficit is much less than the cost of lost votes.

No comments: