Bush, Kerry Are Not Fiscal Conservatives
Whoever Wins the White House Needs Lesson on Economics
By James P.
Neither President Bush nor Sen. John Kerry has a
credible plan for dealing with the fiscal challenges he will face if elected,
according to the bipartisan Concord Coalition.
“Both candidates are touting expensive initiatives
costing about $1.3 trillion that would make deficit reduction more difficult in
the short term and fiscal sustainability unlikely in the long term,” said the
coalition’s executive director, Robert Bixby.
“The policy options in their plans are different
but the bottom lines are not,” Bixby told a Washington press conference.
“Regarding the deficit, they appear to be taking alternative routes to a
The coalition said neither candidate is proposing
a balanced budget, setting aside resources for reform of the alternative
minimum tax beyond 2005, given assumptions on the ongoing costs of war in Iraq
and Afghanistan, or proposed a strategy for achieving long-term fiscal
“Even if the policies in their budget plans
succeed in halving the deficit by 2009, deficits are on track to shoot up again
after that due to rising entitlement costs,” the coalition’s report said.
Entitlements refer to financial benefits
government pays out to citizens, such as welfare, Medicare, Veterans
Administration programs and Social Security.
“Getting control of a ballooning budget deficit
requires two things the candidates are loath to discuss; spending cuts when
they would prefer to talk about increases and tax increases when they would
prefer to talk about cuts,” the report said. “Yet the American people deserve
something more from their candidates than an invitation to a free lunch—even if
that is what they want to hear.”
Both candidates’ proposals have back-loaded costs,
“The president’s five-year budget omits almost 90
percent of the 10-year revenue loss from his tax policy proposals,” the report
said. “The cost of Sen. Kerry’s health plan grows by 50 percent between 2009
Neither candidate “has produced a credible set of
numbers to back up his deficit-reduction rhetoric,” the coalition concluded.