Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 9, 2005
POLITICS: The Money Rolls In

The deficit improves. via Kaus. As usual, efforts to project the future of the federal budget prove elusive. If you learn nothing else from annual arguments about the budget, remember that financial projections about the government are a mug's game.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:18 PM | Politics 2005 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Score yet another one for supply-side economics?

Posted by: Richard at May 10, 2005 2:25 AM

Don't be such a sucker, Crank. the Administration deliberately overestimated the deficit for exactly this purpose. It does appear to be a bit better than expected, but nothing to have a parade over.

Posted by: Mr Furious at May 10, 2005 12:41 PM

Ah, yes, the Bush Administration deliberately overstated the deficit during last year's election. Of course, that makes so much sense.

Posted by: The Crank at May 10, 2005 1:32 PM

You bet it does. One of the President's "big goals" is cutting the deficit in half within five years. The easiest way to do that? Lower the bar by setting a false "high."

Also, last year (2004) in February it was well documented that the White House's numbers were way off the CBO's and everyone else's. No one cares about that "bad news" in February, but when the Treasury Dept released final figures for FY2004 in October (when is Election Day again?) it allowed the President to tout his policies as effective, the deficcit "shrinking" and the economy growing, when in fact none of those are true.

They did it in 2003 to the tune of $81 billion. It's either a pattern of deception or they don't know which drawer the calculator is in.

Don't believe me? Read this, this, this, or this

Posted by: Mr Furious at May 10, 2005 5:19 PM

Facts? Not facts! Agghhh! Run away! Run away!

Posted by: jim at May 11, 2005 6:05 PM

Getting back to the main point here, it's silly to believe in anyone's budget forecasts, regardless of how much faith you have in their lack of a partisan axe to grind. The fact that the numbers are easily manipulated just underlines that point.

Posted by: The Crank at May 11, 2005 7:18 PM

So, projecting SS shortfalls by calculating out to infinite to get the numbers you want, is that okay with you?

Posted by: Mr Furious at May 12, 2005 9:43 AM

I don't trust anybody's Social Security forecasts; the economic assumptions are impossible to verify. Finding vials of bioweapons in a totalitarian dictatorship is easier than predicting the future path of the economy. We know where we stand today and we can take some educated guesses about the future, but they are never more than guesses.

(My favorite example of budgetary flim-flam was when Clinton touted the huge size of the deficit during the 1992 campaign, then announced the day after the election that the deficit was bigger than he thought so no middle class tax cut. Except the figures he said he thought he'd believed in were about half the size of the numbers he'd cited on the trail a month earlier).

What we do know is that Social Security is inherently unstable in the long run because the mismatch between its revenue sources and its obligations is perpetually vulnerable to demographic trends, and for the foreseeable future those trends all point in the same direction. The only way to avoid having the problem crop up again and again is to switch to a system where you correlate your inputs with your outputs by setting aside each person's own contributions in personal accounts.

Posted by: The Crank at May 12, 2005 10:14 AM
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