09-12-2004, 09:40 PM #1
The deficit continues to grow!!!!
Conservatives stew as Bush spending grows
Red ink could loom to $500 billion in 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Conservatives wait warily as President Bush makes final decisions about his election-year budget, three years into an administration on whose watch spending has mushroomed by 23.7 percent, the fastest pace in a decade.
While Bush has emphasized repeatedly the need to rein in spending, overall federal expenditures have grown to an estimated $2.31 trillion for the budget year that started October 1. That is up from $1.86 trillion in President Clinton's final year, a rate of growth not seen for any three-year period since 1989 to 1991.
Much of the increase stems from the fight against terrorism and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also expanding relentlessly have been huge programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which grow automatically with inflation, higher medical costs and more beneficiaries.
What has vexed conservatives most is the 31.5 percent growth since Bush took office in discretionary spending. That is the one-third of the budget lawmakers approve annually for defense, domestic security, school aid and everything else except Social Security and other benefits.
Such spending grew by an annual average of 3.4 percent during Clinton's eight years.
Further infuriating conservatives, Bush and the Republican-run Congress have enacted a $400 billion, 10-year enlargement of Medicare; $87 billion in expanded benefits for farmers; and $40 billion for increased veterans' payments and the Air Force's leasing and buying of refueling tankers.
"Re-election has become the focus of Republicans in the White House and Congress. And those in power have determined the road to staying in power is paved with government spending," said Brian Riedl, who monitors the budget for the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Surplus dives to deficit
Mounting spending has combined with the recession and two major tax cuts to turn a four-year string of annual surpluses into deficits that last year hit $374 billion, the worst ever in dollar terms. Administration officials and private forecasters say red ink could hit $500 billion this year, with more to follow.
Things look bleak in the long run, too. Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said the Medicare bill could cost from $1.7 trillion to $2 trillion during its second 10 years, as the huge baby boom generation retires and foists added costs on taxpayers.
"The U.S. budget is out of control," the investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co. wrote its clients, projecting large deficits for the next decade. "Any thoughts of relief thereafter are a pipe dream until political priorities adjust."
In the new budget Bush is to send Congress on February 2, Bush is expected to propose limiting the growth of discretionary programs to 4 percent, perhaps excluding defense and domestic security. Last February, Bush proposed holding discretionary spending increases to 4 percent this year and next, although aides now say he meant to exclude the military and anti-terror activities.
Discretionary expenditures will hit an estimated $873 billion this year, assuming the Senate completes a House-passed measure in January combining the year's seven remaining spending bills. That is $27 billion, or 3.2 percent, more than last year.
"President Bush has been resolute in pursuing his priorities of winning the war on terrorism, protecting the homeland and strengthening our economy. In pursuing those, he's also exercised fiscal restraint," said Joel Kaplan, deputy director of the White House budget office.
Domestic and defense expenses
Bush, speaking at a fund-raiser Monday in St. Louis, said "we've passed budget agreements that is helping to maintain much-needed spending discipline in Washington, D.C."
Critics say with nine months left in the government's budget year, there's plenty of time for more spending increases, such as for war costs. And they note this year's discretionary spending increase, though low, adds to boosts of 11 percent and then 15 percent in Bush's first two years as president.
"It's an administration that in principle is committed to controlling spending but is unwilling to make hard choices," said Maya MacGuineas, executive director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan anti-deficit group.
The administration says most discretionary spending increases have been for defense and programs it considers anti-terror -- the Homeland Security Department and other domestic security efforts.
Of the $209 billion three-year discretionary increase under Bush, which includes $20 billion Bush added for homeland security for 2001 right after the Sept. 11 attacks, the administration says $159 billion has been for defense and domestic security.
That means 76 percent of the increases have been for those programs.
During that same period, spending for all remaining discretionary programs has grown from $331 billion to $381 billion. That's 15 percent, or 5 percent a year.
"There clearly is a need for the Republican majority to sharpen its pencils and return to its foundation of discipline" in spending, said conservative Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana.
"There is room for more restraint, especially as the economy recovers, but this is hardly the record of a domestic-program spending spree," White House budget chief Joshua Bolten wrote last month in The Wall Street Journal.
09-13-2004, 07:55 AM #2
He will have to raise taxes if he wins or we will be bankrupt.
09-13-2004, 10:11 AM #3Associate Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
Kind of off the thread topic, but can anyone say why healthcare costs are rising? Is it a matter of supply and demand or does it have more to do with the skyrocketing cost of malpractice insurance due to the litigation happy society we live in? Maybe a combination of both?
09-13-2004, 10:13 AM #4Originally Posted by chances
09-13-2004, 11:08 AM #5
people are living longer too
09-13-2004, 11:52 AM #6
the people on lower incomes are gonna get FCUKED , for sure , daaaaaaaaaang !
09-13-2004, 11:56 AM #7
Yea to all you guys out there please invest in your retirement dont depend on Social Security as it wont exist by the time us 20 somethings want to retire............ IRA's, Roth IRA's, 401k's etc...educate yourselves on that stuff man
09-13-2004, 12:06 PM #8Associate Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
Ok, it seems the part of the deficit that the President doesn't really have any control over are "... huge programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which grow automatically with inflation, higher medical costs and more beneficiaries." (Yes, inflation is something the President has some control over, but bare with me.)
My question is, what can be done about this? Insurance for every American, as Kerry wants, would just make this worse, correct? Increased funding into medicare and medicaid, as Bush wants and has done, would also make this worse, correct?
We haven't even hit the Baby Boomers (my parents) yet. In either case, in the next 10 years, as baby boomers begin to retire, we're *ucked. What would you do if you were President? Due to my personality, I tend to not think too far into the future, but this has me thinking quite a bit about the future. Maybe it's because I'm getting to middle age.
Neither candidate seems to be really looking to the future at all. Pres. Bush's idea of turning over Social Security to individuals appeals to my Libertarian side, but my social liberal side asks, "what do we do if the individual screws up and loses all their money?" Do you put restrictions on what the individual can invest in? Do they even have control over the investments? Investing in anything has inherent risk, no matter what it is. Will there now be government guaranteed investment instruments? How is that different than Social Security then? Social Security right now is a pyramid scheme with those coming in late, paying off those that came in early. With that being the case, how would, for example, my account be funded if what I have paid is being paid to people on social security right now? Another suggestion is to limit benefits to "rich" people. My question to that is how is it fair for a "rich" person to pay a bunch of money into social security when they will not allowed to benefit from those contributions when they reach social security age, whether they need it or not? Being rich is not a guarantee. How many people went from multi-millionaire to pauper during the internet rush in the 90's? What about those guys?
How do we wean the country off of medicare and medicaid? Government subsidized health insurance is no different than medicare/medicaid, just a different name, which is not going to fix or even change the problem. Will limiting litigation against doctors and insurance companies lower malpractice costs, thus lowering healthcare costs? Will it lower costs enough that medicare and medicaid can be continued without bankrupting us? How do we limit litigation without hamstringing those with legitimate claims? Continuing to raise the amount of money that is dumped into medicare/medicaid is not going to solve the problem either.
I'd just like to hear everyone's ideas on how you would fix the problem if you were President. I don't want to limit this to US members either. Outside perspective is always a good thing.
P.S. - I know the original post was to bash Bush for his huge discretionary spending increases, and I agree. I thought one of the main planks of the Republican party was smaller government and less government spending.
09-13-2004, 01:45 PM #9Originally Posted by biglouie250
Your a good guy louie although sometimes we dont agree on anything.
09-13-2004, 02:14 PM #10Originally Posted by JT2k
haha thanks man. no matter what "side" your on we all have the same common goal, the means of getting there will always be a question for debate.
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