Statement of John Podesta
Today, President Bush delivered a budget that is built on denial and deceit. We'll sooner find nuclear weapons in Iraq than cut our nation's deficit in half with this budget.
The President, in effect, claims that with this budget, while the United States is engaged in fighting two wars and facing a $521 billion deficit of this Administration's making, we can afford another trillion dollar tax cut, increases in defense and homeland security spending, a trip to the Moon and all while cutting the deficit in half.
The deceit continues as the President now acknowledges that he sold the Congress and the American people a Medicare proposal that now costs a third more, to the tune of a $130 billion difference in added costs to the Administration's original proposal.
And the deception is complete as he blames out of control spending – not his tax cuts – for the fiscal ditch in which we currently find ourselves. Our analysis instead shows that non-security spending is not the major contributor to our fiscal problems but that the President's tax cuts are the main driver behind our exploding deficit (see chart). The Bush budget pulls a cynical bait and switch by using the budget crisis to force cuts in FAA funding while tripling their workload, eliminat e over 20 education programs, cut funding for new and cleaner energy resources in the face of promises to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and as an excuse to privati ze Social Security. Most cynically, this budget proposes to permanently shift the bulk of the tax burden away from the wealthiest Americans and on to the backs of the middle class.
The Congress should start from scratch constructing a more realistic assessment of our fiscal crisis and a sounder starting point for addressing it.
John Podesta is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.
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