Consilience Productions
Essays

The Deficit (by George W. Bush, circa 2/01)

Nicholas Kristof, of the New York Times writes (post #266) on February 3, 2004:

"Considering that President Bush has just presented a budget that, even with fudging and gimmickry, amounts to a $521 billion deficit, it’s painful to read his first speech on budgets as President. From the White House web site, I found these excerpts from his speech to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 27, 2001. It’s also the speech where, according to Paul O’Neill, the President made comments about retiring the debt that the White House knew to be false. But I’m concerned here with his comments about fiscal prudence":

President Bush:

"My budget has funded a responsible increase in our ongoing operations. It has funded our nation's important priorities. It has protected Social Security and Medicare. And our surpluses are big enough that there is still money left over.

Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. I listened, and I agree. (Applause.) We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. (Applause.) At the end of those 10 years, we will have paid down all the debt that is available to retire. (Applause.) That is more debt, repaid more quickly than has ever been repaid by any nation at any time in history. (Applause.)

We should also prepare for the unexpected, for the uncertainties of the future. We should approach our nation's budget as any prudent family would, with a contingency fund for emergencies or additional spending needs. For example, after a strategic review, we may need to increase defense spending. We may need to increase spending for our farmers or additional money to reform Medicare. And so, my budget sets aside almost a trillion dollars over 10 years for additional needs. That is one trillion additional reasons you can feel comfortable supporting this budget. (Applause.)

We have increased our budget at a responsible 4 percent. We have funded our priorities. We paid down all the available debt. We have prepared for contingencies. And we still have money left over."

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