Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Deficits falling, maybe

By
From page B4 | March 24, 2013 | Leave Comment

The issue: There’s good news for a few years, but beyond 2015 we’ll be back where we started, absent higher taxes, cuts in programs or a huge economic growth spurt

There is nothing better for a bad federal budget than a good economy, and the recovering U.S. economy is beginning to work its magic on the federal deficit, which has been in the $1 trillion-plus range the last four years.

The Associated Press says, “For once, the government’s financial shape is actually improving and will get better still over the next few years as the U.S. economy continues to pull itself slowly out of the worst recession since the 1930s.”

THAT “FOR ONCE” is a little unfair because from 1993 to 1997 the federal deficit, the excess of spending over revenues, fell by more than $230 billion to about $21 billion — itself the lowest in more than 20 years — before going into the black for the first time in nearly 30 years.

That happy state of affairs lasted four years, until 2002, and the first round of the George W. Bush tax cuts. The federal budget numbers look so impressive, so orderly, so definitive in the annual White House budget office but it’s an open secret in Washington that these numbers are just informed guesses often based on improbable assumptions. For example, the number crunchers are required to assume that Congress actually will do what it says it will.

The Bush White House mistakenly believed it was dealing with a 10-year surplus of more than $5 trillion. Then came a second round of tax cuts. The Bush mantra was “we’re going to put some extra money in your pocket,” neglecting to mention that the money would have to be borrowed.

Then we fought a costly and, as it turned out, unnecessary war in Iraq and are still fighting a second one in Afghanistan, neither of them paid for. One wonders what the response would have been if the government had asked the voters: “We feel for the good of the country we have to invade Iraq. How much more in taxes are you willing to pay to have us do that?”

And finally there was the prescription drug benefit, whose numbers were greatly fudged to get it through Congress. That wasn’t paid for either.

WE MIGHT HAVE survived that fiscal recklessness if the economy hadn’t tanked in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The loss of tax revenue and the huge amounts of federal money spent to stop the bleeding drove us deep into the hole and now we’re slowly starting to climb out as the economy picks up.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts the deficit will drop to $845 billion this year, and, the CBO says, even if Congress does nothing the deficit will drop to $430 billion by 2015, about what it was in 2008 as the economy began to crater.

But then the fiscal good news runs out. Absent higher taxes, cuts in the rate of increase in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid or a wholly improbably growth spurt in the economy, we will be back where we started. Not a good place to be.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Hay bales burn east of Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Woman killed by train ID’d

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Fire damages Woodland home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

 
Register to vote by May 19

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis businesswoman presides over conference

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fire crews gather for joint training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

 
UFC hears from two local historians

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD professor to talk about new book

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Train to become a weather spotter

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Even a safe house needs boundaries

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
I support Sunder for board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Will anyone notice?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
My votes reflect city values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
A plea on the Bard’s birthday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

 
.

Arts

 
Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6