Upsetting
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
 
The impact of a historic deficit

The White House Tuesday estimated this year's deficit at $450 billion or more - the largest such shortfall ever.

By Peter Grier and Liz Marlantes | Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON – The presidency of George W. Bush is rapidly becoming Reaganesque in at least one area: the deficit.

That's right - the river of red ink that characterized federal budget policy in the 1980s and early '90s is back. Tuesday the White House released a midterm budget update that estimates this year's deficit will be $450 billion or more. In dollar terms, even after adjusting for inflation, that would easily be the largest such shortfall ever.

In the short term, the political effect of the rapid reversal from Clinton-era surpluses may not be great. An economic recovery could cause the budget picture to improve. And given the war in Iraq, the public seems amenable to increases in military spending.

But if nothing else, the new deficit numbers emphasize that the GOP is no longer the national party of green eyeshades. Tax cuts, not balanced budgets, remain the top Republican fiscal priority.
 
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