The Wall Street Journal - In 2003, amid debate about the Bush tax cuts and a budget deficit of merely $400 billion, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe demanded that any tax cuts be capped at $350 billion. "At a time of growing federal deficits," the Republican declared to much media praise, "it is especially important that this plan be right-sized without putting our future at risk."
Flash forward to Tuesday: Ms. Snowe provided one of three crucial GOP votes that helped Democrats pass $838 billion in new spending and "tax cuts" -- often for people who pay no taxes. The deficit for 2009 even before this stimulus? $1.2 trillion.
If nothing else good comes from this exercise, at least Senators Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter should be laughed out of town if they ever fret about a budget deficit again.
As of late yesterday, the details of the final House-Senate stimulus bill weren't available. But this much we do know: The bill will mark the largest single-year increase in domestic federal spending since World War II; it will send the budget deficit to heights not seen in 60 years; and it will establish a new and much higher spending baseline for years to come. Combine this new spending, and the borrowing it will require, with the trillions of dollars still needed for the banking system, and we are about to test the outer limits of our national balance sheet.
Even under CBO's conservative estimate, the Senate bill increases outlays by $546 billion over 10 years. But to get this low a figure, CBO assumes that the half-trillion in spending will be a one-time wonder. We are thus expected to believe that Democrats will let these additions to their favorite programs vanish after two or three years. To believe this, you have to ignore the last half-century of budget politics. Spending never declines; at best it merely fails to grow as fast as the economy.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123440436240475615.html
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