Monday :: Dec 15, 2003

Overconfidence Sets In At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

by Steve

One of the great things about an overconfident White House is that they make statements and take credit for things that can quickly come back and bite them in the ass. Case in point is today’s news conference at the White House, where a confident President Bush took personal credit for making the country safer from terrorism since he took office, and said that his tax cuts have done the job in stimulating our economic growth.

President Bush took credit Monday for improvements in the economy and said the nation is safer since he took office, giving himself accolades on two issues targeted by Democrats who want his job.

"Forget politics," the president said, arguing it's too early to talk about next year's election. Then he went on to talk about next year's election.

He also tossed out the laugher that the primary cause of our skyrocketing deficits are the costs of fighting terrorism and the recession, intentionally ignoring the revenue drain caused by his tax cuts.

Bush said that his 2005 budget will map the way to cutting the federal deficit in half in five years. It's a plan, he said, that "depends upon Congress to continue to hold the line on spending." He blamed the current deficit, expected to total about $500 billion this year, on the recession and the cost of combating terror at home and abroad.

But as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has stated, Bush has yet to put forward any real plan for cutting the deficit in half, and any statements by Bush that the mounting deficits are caused by the recession and anti-terror spending are only half of the story. Bush ignores the real problem behind the deficit, which is not coming from the spending side but more importantly from a shrinking revenue base caused by the Bush tax giveaways, especially in corporate income taxes.

Congressional Budget Office data show, however, that the tax cuts enacted since 2001 will cost nearly three times as much over 2003 and 2004 as the combined costs of the fighting and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq, the costs of reconstruction and relief after the September 11 terrorist attacks, increased expenditures for homeland security, and the cost of dealing with terrorism on a worldwide basis. The degree to which the cost of the tax cuts exceeds the cost of the war on terrorism will grow still larger in years after 2004.

The danger of course for Bush comes if the economy cools after Christmas, right after Bush takes credit for the growth and says it was caused by his tax cuts. And if we are hit with another spate of terrorism after Bush takes credit for making us safer, it will be impossible for even Rove to argue that Bush can escape blame.

We are now beyond the blame Clinton stage. This is clearly now a Bush economy. And after taking credit for making us safer, he owns this issue as well. With the credit also goes the blame.

They'll be no Max Cleland around this time to smear.

Steve :: 6:23 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!