So much for responsibility
If you're looking for enlightenment from Bush or Kerry on how best to shape the economy over the next four years, look again. Neither presents a viable strategy for the deficit or the entitlement programmes, social security, medicare and Medicaid.
The Bush policy on deficits was summed up by vice president Dick Cheney. “Reagan proved deficits don't matter,” he said after the Republicans won the mid-terms, says The Price of Loyalty, Ron Suskind's account of Paul O'Neill's years as treasury secretary.
The Congressional Budget Office's 10-year forecast for the current account deficit is for it to reach $2.3 trillion. That's a big change from before the 2000 election when it projected a surplus of $5.6 trillion
The number assumes no change in current circumstances. But Bush pledges to make permanent the tax cuts he has introduced. Most expect the deficit to be $5-$6 trillion, a $10 trillion swing in four years.
He also commits to rein in spending. That always sounds good coming from a Republican preaching small government, but congress and the White House have displayed a profligacy that seemed to have been conquered in the mid-to-late 1990s.