I have to
admit this new
by Charles Babington in the Washington Post
pisses me off. The article ("Tax
Cut Plan Filled With Dubious Spending Predictions
") gives a bracingly
frank run down of all the false premises, implausible assumptions,
dishonest budget scoring gimmicks, and simple lies that went into making
the Bush budget appear (to the very credulous, mind you) to add up.
Here's one brief passage from the article:
Why did congressional and White House negotiators adopt
these spending projections? Because without them, there was virtually no
way they could come up with numbers suggesting the nation could afford
to forego $1.35 trillion in revenue over 11 years.
The legislation is more political creature than fiscal plan. It
originated in George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign. He called for
a $1.6 trillion tax cut, which the Senate eventually whittled to $1.35
trillion. Once they agreed on the targeted amount, negotiators juggled
projections and assumptions Â several of them quite implausible Â until
the numbers fit.
The problem is that there's nothing in
Babington's article that wasn't completely obvious six months ago when the
Budget was being debated. So why wait till now to spill the beans?
I fear the answer is that during the actual debate the (foolish, to my
mind) canons of newspaper journalism (i.e., presenting both sides of the
argument) mandated that both sides' arguments be presented with equal
merit, even though one was more or less false on its face.
Now that the whole thing has fallen apart after only a few months it's
okay to state the obvious.