Monday, April 25, 2005

No Plan, No Clue, Train wreck coming

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal quotes Business Week:
Howard Gleckman: "Despite their brave talk about the need to control the red ink, President George W. Bush and Congress are marching in the opposite direction. At Bush's urging, lawmakers are about to approve an additional $80 billion to fund the war in Iraq for 2005. The House has voted to repeal permanently the estate tax -- at a staggering 10-year cost of nearly $1 trillion. Congress is abandoning a White House request to trim farm subsidies, and lawmakers are balking at modest cuts in Medicaid.... You don't need a green eyeshade to understand the long-range problem. Today, as a percentage of the economy, federal tax revenues are at 50-year lows -- only about 16% of gross domestic product. But spending is humming along at 20% of national output.

And that's just the beginning of the problem. As the boomers age, three government programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- will suck up a mind-boggling chunk of the income the nation produces. In just two decades, those programs alone will eat up every dollar of anticipated tax revenues.... Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who gave the green light to big deficits in early 2001 when he put his stamp of approval on Bush's tax cuts, told the Senate Budget Committee on Apr. 21 that the budget is 'on an unsustainable path.'"
He continues with the Financial Times before concluding: And it's not the most fiscally irresponsible U.S. administration since World War II. It's the most fiscally irresponsible U.S. administration since before Alexander Hamilton rammed Revolutionary War debt assumption through Congress.

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