The Deficit is Improving...Depending on WHO You Ask, Of Course!
The Congressional Budget Office reported yesterday that it is once again reducing its estimate for the fiscal 2005 federal budget deficit due to a surprise windfall of tax revenues, especially from corporations. However, our press seems to be doing whatever it can to once again make up look like down, good look like bad, and an improving condition look like the onset of cancer.
For instance, today's Los Angeles Times column by Joel Havemann states:
"A windfall of tax revenue, especially from corporations, has substantially brightened the short-term budget outlook, but beyond this year the deficit is still an unsolved problem, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday."
Mr. Havemann then goes on to give a "fair and balanced" assessment of this report by first getting the opinion of a Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. As you would imagine, he was quite positive about this announcement stating, "It provides further evidence that the pro-growth policies put in place by Congress and the president are working to strengthen the economy and lower the deficit."
However, Mr. Havemann -- in all fairness, of course -- then counters this sole, lonely, positive, Republican assessment with FIVE -- yes, I said FIVE -- liberal doomsayers.
These include James R. Horney and Richard Kogan of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Isabel Sawhill of the liberal Brookings Institution, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Rep. John M. Spratt, Jr. (D-SC).
To give you a taste of THEIR opinion about this news:
"The sun may be shining for now, but there are a lot of dark clouds on the horizon," said Brookings Institution budget analyst Isabel Sawhill. "The long-term budget picture is bad and getting worse."
Isn't that special?
Of course, nowhere in this article did Mr. Havemann discuss that at current estimates, the 2005 deficit will come in at just 2.69% of GDP. This will make it less than the previous two years' results, and less than the deficits in 21 out of the last 30 years dating back to 1975.
Put another way, there have only been nine years in the past 30 when our deficit was smaller as a percentage of GDP.
But, I guess that little detail is unimportant.