Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Up Is Down

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Last year, the U.S. federal deficit was $375 billion, the worst deficit ever. And then, the Bush administration predicted that the deficit this year would be in the neighborhood of $521 billion, plus or minus a trip to Mars (this after being left a $300 billion surplus by the Clinton administration).

This week, the White House is slated to announce this year's federal deficit. The tab? Somewhere between $420 and $450 billion, depending on which spinmeister you believe. It's the worst deficit in U.S. history, exceeding last year's "worst in history" by almost 18%. And guess what?

Incredibly, the White House is now poised to spin this news as a positive thing:

Either way, the White House was ready to emphasize that the figure is well below the $521 billion it projected for this year last February, and tie it to improvements in the economy.

"It is hard to disregard the strong progress made on the economy and our fiscal situation," Kolton said Tuesday.

Democrats have said Bush purposely overestimated this year's budget gap so he could take credit for improvement when the real figures came in.

"The new estimate ... will set a new record of fiscal mismanagement and deficit spending," said Kerry economic adviser Gene Sperling.
Please. Make it stop. I'm getting dizzy.