The Budget Issue
By Arnold Kling
How does John Kerry reconcile his spending and tax proposals with his promise to balance the Budget? The Washington Post reports,
Kerry says he would offset the cost of those programs with cuts in federal contracting, some agriculture subsidies and “out-of-control administrative costs” in the government. Other savings would come from a revamping of the student loan program, a commission to cut “corporate welfare” and the elimination of some missile-defense and other military weapons programs. Assuming all those savings materialize, the tax cut and spending proposals could still add as much as $1.3 trillion to the deficit over a decade.
That total is close to the bottom line of Bush’s plan, which could add about $1.35 trillion to the deficit.
…[President Clinton’s former staff chief Leon] Panetta offered another defense of Kerry: Do not believe all that he says. In 1992, Clinton pledged to tackle the deficit with some questionable proposals, Panetta said. Once in office, he stuck to that pledge far more strictly than the myriad campaign promises he laid out, pushing through a politically painful package of tax increases and spending cuts that helped bring the government into the black for four straight years.
“I didn’t believe Clinton’s numbers, either, when he was running,” Panetta acknowledged. “But what was passed was not what he campaigned on.”
For Discussion. When it comes to the Budget, are we better off with candidates who keep all of their promises, or with candidates who will pass something other than what was campaigned on?