Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Federal Budget Capped

Or at least some small part of it:

A senior administration official pointed to Congress' approval last year of
a 0.8 percent cap in non-defense, non-homeland security discretionary spending,
and said Bush "will articulate a similar type of goal or principle, which his
budget will adhere to."

But the proposed cap would affect only about one-sixth of all federal
spending since discretionary spending does not include automatic payments like
Social Security and Medicare.

Analysts say achieving Bush's goal of cutting the deficit in half was made
more difficult with the announcement last week the White House would seek $80
billion in new funding this year for military operations in Iraq and

Two problems with this. First, it covers such a small portion of the budget as to have very little impact on short- or long-term deficits. But even if everything was capped this year, that still leaves a yearly budget that's 28% higher than it was four years ago, with income that's 10% lower. In other words, we haven't actually fixed the problem - we've just taken a step towards not making it much worse. But hey, I'm sure this will placate "the base".

UPDATE: The GAO has released their report on the "long-term fiscal outlook". I haven't read the whole thing yet. Looking at the table of contents, I'm anxious to get a chance to sit down and examine it in detail.

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