President Bush is considering asking Congress to freeze domestic spending next year or cut it slightly, even as he prods lawmakers to allow younger workers to divert some of their Social Security taxes into personal investment accounts.Hmmm...
The two plans, which promise to be dominant issues next year, share a common thread: massive federal deficits that have set consecutive records, peaking at $413 billion last year. The shortfalls have prompted Bush to seek savings from non-defense, non-domestic security programs, and have limited his options for shoring up Social Security for the looming retirement of baby boomers.
On the spending side, Bush is moving toward holding programs Congress must approve annually — except domestic security and defense — to the same $388 billion they received this year, say congressional aides and lobbyists speaking on condition of anonymity. The part of the budget he would restrict also excludes automatically made payments like Medicare and interest on the federal debt.But wars? Nah, keep at it. Let's keep at it.
The president has yet to make final decisions on the $2.5 trillion budget he will send Congress in February, administration officials say. Even so, he and his aides have made it clear that domestic programs will be squeezed.
I look forward to working with Congress on fiscal restraint," the president said. "And it's not going to be easy."
House and Senate aides, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House was considering cutting such programs as housing, grants for community development, purchases of new equipment for the Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites), and Army Corps of Engineers water projects.
The growth of domestic programs slowed to about 1 percent this year. Even so, overall expenditures including defense and domestic security continue to climb, largely due to the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.So far, the President hasn't shown much restraint. Our deficit continues to balloon way out of control.
Congress approved $87.5 billion for those wars in fall 2003 and $25 billion more last spring, and Bush is expected to request another $75 billion to $100 billion early in 2005.
The Treasury Department says the government recorded a budget deficit of 115 (b) billion dollars in the first two months of fiscal 2005.And all we are doing is allowing the federal government to rack up debt which we will not have to pay, but our children will.
That's slightly larger than the 112 (b) billion racked up at the same time last year.
The deficit is based on revenues of 271 (b) billion and spending of 386 (b) billion.
For the budget year just ended, the government wound up with a deficit of 412 (b) billion dollars, a record.
In the first two months of the fiscal year, the government has spent 33 (b) billion on interest payments on the public debt alone.
The national deficit, currently a record $413 billion, is the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends each budget year. The national debt, which looms at $7.4 trillion, is the accumulation of all these year-by-year deficits and other money the public owes.Here's Senator Barbara Boxer (D - California) on what legacy we are leaving for our children:
That's one big Visa bill.
Like anything bought on credit, the government must pay interest on these debts. This year, it spent $322 billion in interest on the federal debt - the third largest expense in the federal budget.
For the baby born today, our national debt is nothing less than a birth tax. "Welcome to the world, and here is your tax bill. You currently owe $25,000 plus interest, and we will be adding to the principal." This is a sorry legacy for America’s children.I hate to think this is the gift I'm giving to Elliot and Richard and Andrew. Quite frankly, it sucks.
In the 2000 Presidential election, President Bush promised voters a fiscally responsible government. He claimed a sound program of tax cuts, tax incentives for businesses and individuals, job-creating investment incentives, and a comprehensive and effective approach to reduce unemployment. Instead, this Administration has delivered record red ink and a national debt that our children and grandchildren will struggle to pay off.
So, the question remains: what can I (and you) do about it?