Scheiber, Noam
March 2004
New Republic;3/29/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 11, p11
The Congressional Budget Office has just released a study putting the portion of this year's budget deficit that can be blamed on the weak economy--long the administration's preferred excuse--at a mere 6 percent. This would seem to call into question the administration's promises to cut the deficit in half over the next five years through some combination of economic growth and spending discipline. But, according to Tuesday's New York Times, the White House is sticking to its story: J. T. Young, a spokesman for the White House budget office, cautioned that increases in tax revenues often lagged behind increased economic growth, and he noted that the budget was still being affected by higher costs for the military and domestic security. So, according to J. T. Young, the reason the deficit picture looks so grim is that tax revenues are still way down, and military and homeland security spending are way up. Since the administration is currently proposing to make its tax cuts permanent--at a cost of more than $100 billion over the next five years and nearly $1 trillion over ten--and since it's projecting continued spending increases on defense and homeland security, which together account for by far the largest portion of domestic discretionary spending, exactly what part of this picture is supposed to improve?


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