Prague Twin

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy New Fiscal Year

The Public Debt at the US Treasury is public information. Out of all the numbers you can get to measure the buget deficit, I find this to be the most reliable. At the end of the day, this is what we owe. Simple. I know this isn't the "budget deficit" as such, but to me, this is the only number that actually means anything.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that back in July of 2003, President Bush promised to cut the budget deficit in half by 2006. Bush also promised in Feburary to cut the budget deficit in half by 2009. How clever of him to simply flip the six into a nine and roll out more empty promises.

So, let's have a look at the numbers and dispell two myths at once. First is the Clinton surplus. There never was any surplus. Clinton had promised to balance the budget, a daunting task, but he had a plan. It may have not been a perfect plan, but he certainly had one, and he darn near got the thing balanced. When it looked like it was going to turn into a surplus, there was some heady talk of paying down the public debt, but that was largely fantasy in my view.

The second myth we will dispell is that Bush is in any way even remotely close to keeping his 2003 promise. They rolled out numbers that showed record tax revenues due to growth. If we are increasing our debt at this rate while setting revenue records contigent on growth, what happens if there is a recession?

Total Public Debt as of the last business day in September for the year given in billions of USD (rounding down):

(1997) Total Debt: 5,413
(1998) Total Debt: 5,526 (Increase 113)
(1999) Total Debt: 5,656 (Increase 130)
(2000) Total Debt: 5,674 (Increase 18) Last Clinton full fiscal year
(2001) Total Debt: 5,807 (Increase 133) Half Clinton, half Bush
(2002) Total Debt: 6,228 (Increase 421) Bush's first full fiscal year
(2003) Total Debt: 6,783 (Increase 555)
(2004) Total Debt: 7,379 (Increase 597)
(2005) Total Debt: 7,932 (Increase 553)
(2006) Total Debt: 8,506 (Increase 574)

That's right! We have cleared the 8.5 trillion mark! Congratulations, you've won absolutely nothing!

Quite simply, in 2003, Bush promised to cut the deficit in half by 2006, but there was no plan. Very few are surprised, but isn't it strange that the president can promise to do something, do absolutely nothing to that aim, promise to do the exact same thing three years later and his supporters just clap and tell us about the Laffer curve? I really feel like I'm in the twilight zone.

Are they even on the same planet? I went to find out and Tony Snow, thankfully, set the record strait.

The title of the release is "Setting the Record Straight: The President's Policies Are Increasing Tax Revenues and Growing Our Economy."

Ok, that much is true, so far, but there is something missing in the assesment: expenditures. You see, you can grow revenue all you want, but if you keep increasing expenditures, you are going to have problems. And let's face it, the reason they are setting revenue records is that revenue was so bad since the tax cut. Now, almost 5 years later, revenue is more than in was in about 2000 when it peaked. The economy is growing at 5% a year. Revenue SHOULD be up. Look, revenue is not the problem. You have the largest economy in the world. You should be able to extract a pretty penny out of it without crushing the economy. The trick is being fair in who you take it from and spending what you take wisely. On both counts, I believe the Bush administration gets an F.

So now, here come the cuts in the social programs that far left has been fearing. The axe will fall this time, and now the poor will get to pay for the mistakes of this very, very fiscally irresponsible and incompetent administration.


  • The cost of the prosecution of the war in Iraq and operatons in Afghanistan are not part of the budget and theefore are not part of your listed debt figures are they?

    Well, no matter because a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich shall not perish from this earth. Unless of course the Chinese and South Koreans stop buing our debt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:45 PM  

  • That is exactly the point: the operations are not in the official budget, but that money has to come from somewhere.

    My figures measure what the country actually owes, therefore the war costs are included.

    The Chinese probably won't stop buying our debt becuase it would cause a global financial crisis which would be bad for everyone.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 7:37 PM  

  • I'm for cutting social programs. The single greatest social program is a job. Can you tell me what the 8.5 trillion in national debt is as a percentage of GNP or GDP or whatever the heck the national goods and services produced is called now. Is that percentage figure at a level which would be unacceptable for the debt of a large mulitnational corporation?
    And yes we're spending too much and the Republicans have shown themselves to be whores to public money as well.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 12:51 AM  

  • That is about 75% of of 2005 GDP. So if it were a business it would mean that your debt was 75% of your yearly turnover. Not too good.

    The budget deficit is running at about 5% of GDP per year which is where supply-siders (like yourself) start getting nervous.

    If you are going to add 5% per year, you had better grow 5% per year if you want to keep up. I think 5% a year is much too fast for a large developed economy to sustain. 2-3% is healthy in my view.

    I don't want to get into a big discussion about social programs but you and I probably agree that those who can work, should work. The job may be crap, but the work is there.

    Social programs for the truly disadvantaged, however, are essential and are what seperates us from most animals.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:33 AM  

  • Yo Roger! Unlesss you consider Medicare abd Social Security to be "social programs" you will discover that social programs are a drop in the bucket. In other words, you may not like the idea of social programs, but welfare mothers churning out new mouths to feed w/ diverse fathers are not fueling our national debt, at least not signifcantly.

    Also, isn't the measure of a civilization how it takes care of its infirm, aged, and underprivileged?

    PT. Please steer us to a site that shows where the money goes. It will keep us awke at night but at least we will be informed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:49 PM  

  • Mike, 5% is too high (but less than the 55% or so we did in the early 40s) so I hope we can get that down in the next few years (wan hope). I support private (usually religious) charities taking care of what we used to call the deserving poor. If nothing bad happens to slackers, we get more slackers (sorry to be so blunt) Not a good thing for society.
    Loop, I consider the medicare program to be a socialist program no different from what we used to call wellfare, and I consider social security to be a government run ponzi scheme. I realize these programs dwarf the rest of the social program spending. I do think education is key, but public schools seem nearly disfunctional with huge drop out rates and really uneducated graduates. I'm happy to see shop classes making a sort of a comeback. We need good mechanics. Not everyone should go to college.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 4:49 PM  

  • Not so easy to get a full breakdown, but I will keep looking.

    One of the gems I found out while looking is that at 8.5 trillion, the interest on the debt runs over 350 billion per year. That is nearly half the shortfall.

    That means that the debt that has been added since Bush took office is costing the country an additional 150 billlion per year.

    Imagine what could be done with 150 billion per year!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:26 AM  

  • Here is a decent breakdown if you guys are still interested.

    It doesn't mention the interest on the debt, however.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:20 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home