By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Power Line’s new math

At Power Line, John Hinderaker says a chart on budget deficits put out by the Congressional Budget Office shows President Obama’s claim that he’ll reduce deficit spending is “a bald-faced lie.”

Really? Hinderaker reproduces the chart, so have a look. What I see is that the deficit hits a mind-boggling $1.8 trillion or so during the current fiscal year, 2009, which ends on Sept. 30. We already knew that, and we know the reason: it’s the government’s response to the current economic emergency — the stimulus package, bailouts, etc., etc.

After that, though, both the White House and the CBO agree the deficit will shrink quite rapidly until around fiscal 2012 or ’13. Then the two sets of figures start to diverge. But that’s not really of much importance, is it? As Obama observed last night, adjustments will be made along the way.

Forced to choose between Hinderaker’s interpretation and my own lying eyes, I’ll go with the latter.

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5 Comments

  1. mike_b1

    The obsession with what will happen in three or four years was downright weird. If anyone in that room could predict the future, they’d be sitting in a casino in Monte Carlo, not showing off their ignorance in front of a national audience.Any statistician worth their salt would tell you there are many, many factors that could influence drastic swings to future budget and in either direction: a new full-scale war, a stock market boom, a widespread flu that kills millions of adults, political unrest in China that drives manufacturers back to the stable shores of the US, and so on. To fuss over those details now is wrongheaded, not to mention an incredible waste of time.

  2. Jeff C

    But even in ’12 or ’13, the best-case-scenario here has the deficit at nearly twice that at the end of the Bush administration. How is that progress?Furthermore, this doesn’t take into account the enormous investment disincentives built into Obama’s plan, nor the amount of capital taken out of the private sector by debt service for the trillions of pork we’ve just purchased.It’s not good enough to be “good enough” anymore. One step forward and two back isn’t the change we were sold.

  3. NewsHound

    The budget is one thing – we need our government working efficiently and delivering value to our economy in ratio to cost as quickly as possible. We also need our workers productively and profitably engaged in effective wealth creation as quickly as possible and it appears the President understands that. It is as simple as a farmer restoring barns and sheds and tractors during the off growing season and continuing to work productively year-round rather than spending the winter watching tv and struggling with dilapidated equipment during the productive season, even if he has to run up a tab at the hardware store in the meantime.

  4. mike_b1

    Jeff C, I’ve been hearing since I was a little kid that over the long-term we would have to increase personal savings and restructure everything from Social Security to Medicare/Medicaid and so on. Now, thanks to Bush’s Unholy War — an off-the-books waste of a cool $1 trillion or so — we are at that point. Thank god a Democrat is in office to bail us out.Yes, I Democrat. I have witnessed Reagan and both Bushes run up much larger deficits than Carter or Clinton. The Democrats are, as a point of fact, way more responsible when it comes to budgeting. (Clinton is the only president in my lifetime to actually balance the budget.)The difference is that while Democrats govern for the common good, the Republicans govern to hold on to power. You kept sticking your fingers in your nose, and now you’re sick and it’s time to take your medicine. As for enormous investment disincentives, name one.

  5. NewsHound

    Democrat or Republican, this country is horribly challenged. The ratio of retired taking social security and using medicare funds to consume expensive and great innovations in health care is a tremendous threat looking forward, along with many other issues such as energy, education, global warming, and national defense. These problems are much larger and more challenging than any difference between Republican and Democrat and neither, with either label, is going to have simple, easy, non-sacrificing solutions. The best we can do is get people back to productive wealth creation as quickly as possible and attempt to move towards a more efficient, honest government and business community.

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