Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Must be that New Math Again

Pres. Bush straddles a Harley during a visit to the Harley-Davidson plant near York, Pa. on Wednesday, August 16.  Photo courtesy:  Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record

You may recall about six-weeks ago, I was a little confused about how a $300 billion federal budget deficit could be a good thing.  On July 11, I wrote:

"CNN's business reporter came on and said that the President wanted to speak this morning because the budget defict for the year will only be about $300 billion instead of the projected $400 billion.  Apparently, the president sees this as a sign that his tax cuts are working, and he wants everyone to know that.  I, personally, would like everyone to know that WE STILL HAVE A $300 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT!"

Yesterday, while Mr. Bush was speaking in Lancaster at a fundraiser for Lynn Swann, he picked up on the theme.  I don't remember exact quotes, but I do recall him using the word "prioritize" (say it with me, pry-AHR-tize) in five or six consecutive sentences.  The president was saying that because he prioritizes his budget, there's money left over to put back in the people's pockets through tax cuts.

Now, admittedly, I know nothing about accounting, it's been more than 20 years since I took Calculus in high school and college, and I seem to recall being hung over when I took the final exam for Economics 101 (It's all rather fuzzy, like this math seems to be).  I'm old school, OK?  But, how is having a budget deficit the same as having "money left over?"

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