Saturday, January 22, 2005

Bush Dollars

From MSNBC:
One simple way to figure the budget impact of Bush’s first term is to look at how much new Treasury debt the government has sold to make up for the deficits since he took office. In Jan. 2001, the total Treasury debt held by the public stood at $3.9 trillion. As of Wed. Jan. 19, the figure was $4,423,975,930,565.56 (or $4.4 trillion.)So regardless of whether you attribute this increase to tax cuts or war spending (or both), the U.S. government is $500 billion further in debt after Bush's first term.

As for the second term, the outlook isn’t much better. A lot depends on whether tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the decade are made permanent -– and on when U.S. troops finally leave Iraq. Last June, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the final bill for the war could hit nearly $400 billion.  The CBO figures the accumulated federal budget deficits will hit $2.3 trillion by the end of the decade. And the White House’s own estimates for the second term estimates the total Treasury debt held by the public will reach $5.5 trillion by 2008. (See Table 20, bottom of the page.) That would put the accumulated price tag for both terms at around $1.6 trillion, or a little over $200 billion a year.

That's not counting the White House plan to overhaul Social Security. Until the details of the proposal are formally unveiled, it's impossible to say what it will cost. But if some payroll taxes are diverted to individual accounts (the main idea behind the plan), Congress would have to kick in more money to pay for people who are already retired or expect to do so soon. That could easily add another $1 trillion or more to the Bush deficits.

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