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Insider 11-26-2005 06:24 PM

The Cost of Bush Will Be Huge, Lasting
by Dave Zweifel
Friday, November 25, 2005
Capital Times, Madison, WI

These haven't been a good couple of months for President Bush.

His approval ratings have plummeted so far that even staunch members of his own party are admitting they disagree with him on several key issues and some are now openly challenging some of his policies.

As I predicted after the 2004 elections, we're going to have trouble in a couple of years finding people who will admit to having voted for him, just as nobody would fess up to having voted for "Tricky Dick" Nixon's re-election in 1972.

But Bush's personal political problems are nothing compared to the problems that now face our country, problems brought on by a reckless administration that seems to have little regard for the country's future.

In a word, it's scandalous.

A front page of USA Today last week showed it all in graphic detail. If we continue on the same track we are today, our annual $319 billion deficit will be more than $4 trillion in 2050, when our grandkids are nearing retirement.

"We face a demographic tsunami," insists David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general. He compares the United States to Rome before the fall of the empire. The country faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings and its leadership, he told USA Today.

And he's far from alone. Both conservative and liberal economic experts are starting to sound the alarm. We can't keep spending on everything from an incredibly expensive war to a Medicare drug program that mainly benefits insurance companies and cut taxes by hundreds of billions at the same time.

As Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat, wrote in the Chicago Tribune last week:

"For too long, the philosophy in Washington has been that you can spend without consequence or sacrifice. That we can fight a war in Iraq and a war on terror, protect our homeland, provide our citizens with Medicare and Social Security and maintain our domestic priorities, all while cutting taxes for the wealthy and funding every local project there is."

It's not a sustainable future for America, he added.

Now we have Alan Greenspan lumping the country's record trade deficit on top of all our other problems.

There's going to come a time - perhaps earlier than we realize - that foreign lenders are going to stop funding that deficit we keep growing.

As Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget told USA Today, "I want to see a presidential election where the candidates are talking about what taxes they'll raise and what spending they'll cut."

What's for sure is that we simply cannot keep on the path we've been following the past five years.

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