Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Bush Budget: B.S.

CNB is not quite sure how you can claim financial accuracy in the creation of a budget when you omit your biggest expenses. CNB is all for fiscal responsibility, but at least put all the numbers in before determining your total.

The biggest problem? The budget omits most of the costs of war in Iraq, other than $459 million -- what makes this significant is that the $2.57 trillion budget proposal (for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1) does not include new funding for the Iraq war, although the administration has said that it will request $81 billion in new spending for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan within a few days and will have to come back to Congress for more money in 2006. The rationale is that the funding is done via supplemental requests, and, therefore, need not be included in the budget. Creative, but intellectually dishonest.

In addition, the budget omits the president’s plans for privatizing Social Security, which many analysts believe could cost the federal government up to $ 2 trillion. Bush further includes a request for a five-year freeze in domestic spending, though CNB wonders if this could be achieved if we weren't incurring over $5 billion a month in Iraq.

Pres. Bush said Monday, “It’s a budget that focuses on results.” Well, of course. The problem is, that "result" is the impression that the Administration is on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009 (as opposed to the actual cutting in half of the deficit). Hopefully, the smoke and mirrors will not fool the budget-conscious in Congress.