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Fiscal Shenanigans

June 3, 2004

President Bush appears to be planning to run for re-election as a tax cutter without discussing what federal programs will be sacrificed to make up for the lost revenue.

...While Mr. Bush has been out crowing about spending increases in some popular programs, his Office of Management and Budget was instructing federal departments to prepare to pare them down.

...$925 million for Head Start and childhood education. That would come at a time when schools are already struggling to meet the demands of Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative without adequate resources.

...The same projections show that veterans' medical care would be cut by $1.5 billion (after a planned $380 million cut in 2005).

...environmental protection, housing programs and nutrition aid for poor pregnant women and children - would be $21 billion less in 2006 than today.

...homeland security, would be $45 billion below its current level and would be a smaller portion of the economy than it has been at any time since 1963.

....even all of the proposed cuts in the memo would barely begin to make a dent in the annual deficits, which are likely to range from $300 billion to $400 billion for the rest of the decade.

...Some of the staunchest tax-cut supporters in Congress are perfectly aware that the math doesn't work. They hope the accumulating pressure of the deficits will eventually force the federal government to go further and cut entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Very few of them, however, are prepared to run for re-election on that plan.

...Currently, tax cuts since 2001 account for 17 times as much of the swing from surplus to deficit as do increases in domestic discretionary spending.

...Candidates who insist on keeping the Bush tax cuts - whether they're running for Congress or the presidency itself - have to show us the math.