www.sfgate.com"www.sfgate.com/a">Bush plays his deficit shell game
Published 4:00 am, Friday, October 15, 2004
So let's recap: The Bush administration finds itself unable to operate within the boundaries of the highest debt ceiling in U.S. history, so its solution is to get by on other people's money until it can secure approval to run up even more debt.
Pro-growth policies indeed.
"It certainly highlights the disconnect between rhetoric and reality," said Harry Zeeve, national field director for the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan budget watchdog group.
"The government is not living within its means," he said. "It's not unlike having to raise the limit on your credit-card account, and that's a dangerous thing. Eventually you'll have to pay a price for it."
Rising national debt reflects the cumulation of continuing annual deficits. It poses a risk of higher interest rates for everything from home mortgages to car loans.
Soaring national debt also represents a danger that the nation's creditors, including a number of foreign governments, will grow distrustful of our mounting IOUs and eventually ask for their money back.
In any case, Bush isn't the first president to exploit the $56 billion Government Securities Investment Fund, or G-Fund, for a little fiscal sleight of hand.
That honor, a Treasury Department spokeswoman told me, goes to the president's dad, George H.W. Bush, who tapped government workers' pension money in 1989 when confronted with a fast-approaching debt ceiling of $2.8 trillion.
President Bill Clinton did the same in 1996 when faced with a $4.9 trillion debt limit and a nasty budget battle with Congress