Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Deficit Numbers to Get Worse Than Forecast

Don't look now but those deficit projections made earlier in the year are going to be wrong.

According to that bastion of conservative propaganda, USA Today, government officials are acknowledging that new budget deficit estimates for the current year will be worse than first forecast.
As the White House and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepare to release new deficit estimates this month, several economists say the news is likely to be as bad as or worse than forecasts.

"This is going to be a very depressing outlook," predicts former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, top adviser to Republican John McCain in last year's presidential election. "They have just a nightmare in terms of these health care bills, which do nothing but make things worse."

A fiscal year 2009 deficit of $1.8 trillion was anticipated by the White House, $1.7 trillion by Congress. Reaching that level would produce a deficit four times last year's $459 billion deficit, just as Congress is considering health care overhaul plans that could cost $1 trillion over 10 years.


While revenue continues to decline, government spending is rising as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan passed six months ago. Stimulus spending will increase in the next few months, says Treasury chief economist Alan Krueger.

Deficits of $1.8 trillion this year and $1.3 trillion in 2010, as predicted by the White House, would add to the federal debt. The current $11.7 trillion debt already equals about $38,500 for every U.S. resident. The recession, now in its postwar-record 21st month, has dealt a worse blow to the budget than the administration expected:

• The economy is set to shrink by 2.6% this year, more than twice what the White House predicted in February and May.

• As a result, tax revenue is down by $353 billion over 10 months, which is about what the White House thought it would lose for the entire year.

• Unemployment, projected at 8.1% this year by the White House, was 9.4% in July. Spending for jobless benefits, Medicaid and Medicare has soared as people have lost work and health insurance. Jobless benefits are costing more than twice what was spent last year.
So why are we rushing headlong into nationalizing health care? The story suggests a theory:
Former CBO director Robert Reischauer, president of the non-partisan Urban Institute, an economics and social policy think tank, says administrations tend to believe that "the harder and faster one falls, the more rapid and steep the recovery."
Only if you strap on a jet pack, people.



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