President Bush took office in 2001 with a budget surplus, but his final budget proposal envisions federal deficits of more than $400 billion a year for the next two years. As big as those numbers are, experts think that the administration is lowballing the deficits, and they put little stock in Bush's vow to balance the budget by 2012.
"I think the promise that it will be balanced by 2012 is ridiculous," said Chris Edwards, the director of tax policy for the Cato Institute, a libertarian policy research group.
Bush's estimates of a $410 billion deficit this fiscal year and $407 billion for fiscal 2009, budget experts said, rely on very low assumptions of war costs, unrealistic estimates on tax collection and spending cuts that won't sell politically, regardless of which party is in charge of Congress.
"No sensible analyst takes this (budget) estimate seriously," said Robert Greenstein, the executive director of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Saturday, February 9, 2008