Political strokes

by Henry Farrell on February 1, 2006

The best prediction that I saw regarding the content of Bush’s SOTU address came from Charlie Cook in yesterday’s “Financial Times”:http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/topstories.aspx?ID=BD4A147181 yesterday.

bq. “The president faces a unique challenge,” says Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report. “There is little new or different he can do about Iraq or energy costs. Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and health-care costs are blowing the lid off the budget. Beyond looking for policy initiatives that cost little or no money, the president has to figure out how to tread water while making it look like he is doing the butterfly.”



John Quiggin 02.01.06 at 4:15 pm

Accurate enough, though the biggest problem is not the lid of the budget (expenditure) but the cracks in the bottom from unfunded tax cuts.


luci 02.01.06 at 4:24 pm

Every news article I can find on the budget goes with the approved Administration line that “unanticipated Katrina reconstruction costs led to the increase in the projected 2006 deficit.” But, as far as I can tell, only $85 billion has been formally budgeted for Katrina, of which $62 billion appeared on the 2005 budget. (are separate, emergency spending bills to provide much of the funding, to keep it out of budget projections?).

If true, that leaves $23 billion in the ’06 budget deficit that’s Katrina-related. Out of a deficit of ~$400 billion. Well, $23 billion isn’t chump change, but it’s 5% of the whole. Meanwhile, tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 reduced tax revenue about $225 billion a year.


y81 02.01.06 at 9:27 pm

“How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which kings or laws can cause or cure.”

The last guy to face this problem went with V-chips and school uniforms, as I recall.


abb1 02.02.06 at 4:53 am

There is little new or different he can do about Iraq or energy costs.

US president could do a lot of new/different things about Iraq and energy costs; although this may be technically true – there’s little he can do.

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