Budget outlook worse, raising
cries on both sides
Deficits: Congressional report foresees red ink over next decade
BY ALAN FRAM The Associated Press: Jan. 27, 2004
WASHINGTON - The governments, budget outlook deteriorated
further on, Monday as the Congressional Budget Office projected nearly,
$2.4 trillion in deficits over the next decade, providing new fuel for
an election year battle over soaring federal shortfalls.
Along with the forecast, almost $1 trillion worse than estimated
in August, Congress' nonpartisan fiscal watchdog said this year's
deficit would hit $477 billion. That would be a record in dollar terms.
Although the report envisioned red ink ebbing to $362 billion
next year and receding thereafter, it stirred up Democrats, who blame
President Bush for squandering the unprecedented surpluses of just
three years ago; and conservative Republicans, who say he has let the
budget spin out of control.
“He's been completely irresponsible,” presidential hopeful Sen.
John Edwards (D-N.C.) said in New Hampshire, underscoring Democrats’
hopes that the issue is catching on. "We can’t afford four more years
of the right wing Republican administration," candidate Howard Dean
said. “Republicans don’t balance budgets; Democrats do.”
“These budget deficits as far as the eye can see are the
predictable result of a president and Congress spending taxpayer
dollars with reckless abandon,” said Brian Riedl, who studies the
budget for the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The highest deficit ever was last year's $375 billion.
Bush sends Congress his $2.3 trillion budget for 2005 next
Monday. It will propose holding nondefense, nondomestic security
spending to about 0.5 percent growth, with a goal of halving deficits
“The president has a plan to cut the deficit in half over the
next five years, and that's what we intend to do,” said White House
spokesman Scott McClellan.
The national debt, the running total the government owes its
debt holders, is more than $7 trillion, including money it owes its own
Social Security and other trust funds
The budget office projected that for the decade ending in 2013,
the red ink will total $2.38 trillion. That was $986 billion worse than
it projected in August a trillion deeper than it projected only a year