A donkey in elephant’s clothing

I read an interesting article today about our nation’s projected deficit over the next decade. The Congressional Budget Office had estimated a deficit of $2.01 trillion for 2005-2014, but that’s going to fall short. The updated estimate is $2.29 trillion. For those of us keeping score at home, that’s $2,290,000,000,000. I believe the official term for that is A Lot&#153.

It’s been awhile since I mentioned the presidential election, but I haven’t forgotten. There are many issues involved, of which I’m sure I’ll bitch about most of them over the next two months, but our fiscal crisis is what needs attention now. President Bush has no rational reason to praise himself as much as he has for our economic situation. Based on the promises of more federal spending in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, I fear it’s only going to get worse.

I’m not going to babble about the economy because I don’t believe the President has as much control over the economy as most people believe. Alan Greenspan’s opinion matters more to me. But I do care about the deficit. As much as this may surprise you, I’m a fiscal conservative. I don’t believe the government can solve all of our problems. I don’t believe in throwing more money at problems. I don’t believe in wealth redistribution. The tax code is unfair and the government is too large. Every one of those is a reason why I’ll be voting for John Kerry in November.

Reading Andrew Sullivan recently, I read his comment that sums this up as succinctly as I could, so I’ll quote him here:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the only difference between Republicans and Democrats now is that the Bush Republicans believe in Big Insolvent Government and the Kerry Democrats believe in Big Solvent Government. By any measure, that makes Kerry – especially as he has endorsed the critical pay-as-you-go rule on domestic spending – easily the choice for fiscal conservatives.

Bill Clinton, in conjunction with the bi-partisan Congress, balanced the budget. President Bush, with the support of the fully Republican Congress, has returned us to Reagan-era deficits. Granted, the economy was better under President Clinton, but my argument loses little significance. President Bush believes the government can better than we can. He doesn’t want us to pay for it, though, which is why we get tax breaks. Yet, I can’t help feeling that, since he so obviously treats us as though he’s our father, it’s bad parenting of the worst kind that he wishes to pass our debts to our children and grandchildren. This is compassionate conservatism?

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