DEFICITS….The administration tells us today that it doesn’t like deficits:
Reducing the deficit is a “high priority, but not the first priority,” said White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.
If deficit reduction is a high priority with these guys, I’d hate to see their idea of a low priority. And small government? Not such a high priority either:
The resolution initially written by the House Budget Committee called for eliminating the deficit in seven years. But to do that, and still make room for most of Bush’s tax cut, the panel called for big domestic funding cuts, including $470 billion from such programs as Medicare, veterans benefits and farm aid.
Moderate Republicans rebelled, forcing GOP leaders to restore money for Medicare and veterans, whittling the savings to $265 billion.
At least we know their top priorities for budget cutting, if it ever comes to that: Medicare and veterans. And if they end up cutting farm aid, they’ll merely be reducing the enormous farm windfall that they themselves put in place only a year ago.
In the short term, none of this probably matters. After all, running a deficit is probably helpful in kick starting the flat economy. But it can’t go on forever unless we want to end up like Europe, paying the price of economic growth because we’re unwilling to address long term structural deficits through either tax increases or budget cuts. Republicans, of course, no longer like to eat their vegetables, so it will undoubtedly be up to some future administration of Democratic grownups to solve this problem. 2004 would be a good time to start.