March 11, 2004
"He was wrong"

You've probably heard that the Senate just passed a rule to require a supermajority for any new tax cut or spending increases that don't have a counterbalance over the next five years. I'd like to call your attention to what Sen. Tom Carper (D, Del) had to say about the reasons for this unusual measure, which drew the support of four Republicans (McCain, Snowe, Collins, and Chafee):

In 2001, the first year I was here, and when George Bush was President, he said:
We can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits.

He was wrong.

He said:

Our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term.

He was wrong.

In 2003, he said:

Our current deficit is not large by historical standards and is manageable.

He was wrong.

Now he says:

The deficit will be cut in half over the next 5 years.

He is wrong again.

My friends, our budget deficit this year is going to be about a half trillion dollars. When you actually take away the surplus funds from Social Security that mask the Federal budget deficit, it is even larger than that. While there is a little downtrend starting this year for a couple years in the budget deficits, the real budget deficit, the operating deficit, is about $450 billion. Then it climbs steadily up. The boomers, my generation, will begin to retire, and we are looking at a budget deficit for 2014 of about $785 billion.

That is three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Those are operating deficits, not debt.

Amen. You want fiscal responsibility, you know for whom to vote this year.

Via the NDN blog.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 11, 2004 to National news | TrackBack

Yup. Kerry's increases in spending on everything and support of the status quo for Social Security...that's fiscal responsibility.

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on March 11, 2004 11:26 PM

Hey, if memory serves, Clinton balanced the budget, no?? Bush undid that accomplishment virtually overnight, and yet he claims to be on top of the (jobless)"recovery". Did Bush sleep through his Econ classes at Yale??

Posted by: Jack Cluth on March 12, 2004 6:42 AM


The Republican Party has historically been for tax cuts. Santa Claus to the taxpayer. Concerns about the impact to the deficit have been more fleeting.

The Democratic Party has historically been for more public spending. Santa Claus to the beneficiaries of the spending programs. Concerns about the impact spending has on the deficit have been more fleeting.

The population wants both tax cuts and public spending. The public has never been concerned about the deficit. As long as one party plays Santa Claus, that party will win.

Until the 1990s, the Republicans gave lip service to concern over the deficit. Democrats were the Santa Claus of public spending. Democrats ruled Congress for 40 years.

Today, Democrats feign concern about the deficit. Republicans get to be the Santa Claus of tax cuts. Republicans are in control of Congress.

Don't expect that to change until we have a new Santa Claus.

Posted by: Greg V. on March 12, 2004 8:42 AM

Just a thought here, but maybe, just maybe, we should actually give some thought to real reform of social security, since it's one of those "obligations" that's going to drive the real deficit (whether it's off budget or not) in coming decades and is mentioned by Carper (what an appropriate name, btw).

Those same Senators who want an excuse to raise taxes ("we HAD to raise taxes to remain revenue neutral") don't want to have that discussion, do they? Nope.

Posted by: kevin whited on March 12, 2004 8:48 AM

Did Clinton balance the budget? I claim not.

The "balanced" Clinton-era budgets only balanced because they took the Social Security surplus for those years and replaced it with an IOU.

That's $500 billion better than what we have now, 'tis true, but I believe that integrity and honesty need to be brought into the budgeting process, and that includes taking Social Security off-budget and figuring out a way to keep it solvent that spreads the pain fairly over all generations -- not just the young ones and the ones yet to be born.

Posted by: Tim on March 12, 2004 1:20 PM