This story, from this morning’s New York Times, about the causes of the nation’s fast-mushrooming deficit:
There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years. The first is that President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying. The second is that Mr. Obama does not have a realistic plan for eliminating the deficit, despite what his advisers have suggested.
reporter David Leonhardt’s story begins. From there, it divides the deficit up like a pie, assigning blame proportionately for the problem:
-37 percent from loss of taxes from this recession and the one in 2001,
-33 percent from legislation signed by President Bush,
-20 percent from Bush policies that are being extended by President Obama,
-7 percent from the February stimulus bill,
-and 3 percent from Obama’s proposals for energy, health care, etc.
The story goes into much more detail, including the likely fallout for the coming years, and this sobering conclusion:
The solution, though, is no mystery. It will involve some combination of tax increases and spending cuts. And it won’t be limited to pay-as-you-go rules, tax increases on somebody else, or a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse. Your taxes will probably go up, and some government programs you favor will become less generous.
It’s well worth the read.