February 23rd, 2009
11:02 PM ET

Truth in Budgeting: Is it enough?

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from David Gergen tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

President Obama is taking a significant step toward fulfilling another important campaign pledge this week: he is unveiling a federal budget that actually tries to tell us some hard truths about the government’s finances. Too many years in the past, the Bush administration engaged in deception by keeping the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan out of the regular budget, plus pulling off some other shenanigans that disguised just how much the government was growing and how much its deficits were growing. By the time he left office, President Bush had practically doubled the national debt – doing as much damage in 8 years as the republic had suffered in more than 200 previous years combined.

Obama promised truth in budgeting, and he is succeeding far more than in the recent past. The cost of both wars will now be included in this week’s budget, money will be set aside to respond to natural disasters, and the budget won’t show cost cutting in programs that everyone knows will be revived (e.g., the alternative minimum tax).

The results of taking a truth serum – along with the horrendous costs we are piling up in fighting the economic crisis – will reveal eye-popping numbers stretching far into the future. We can expect at least $1.3 trillion in deficits this coming year, another mountain the following year, before the deficits will be shown to slope down to some $533 billion four years from now. The Administration is touting that as serious progress, but only a year or so ago, an annual deficit of $500 billion would have been wholly unacceptable.

We need to know the hard truths about our country’s financial situation and the Administration deserves congratulations for going as far as it has, but the question arises: has it gone far enough? Will even this first Obama budget tell us everything we need to know? Sadly, that does not appear to be the case.

Here are just a few things the administration must still tell us:

  • How much are these outbursts of federal loans and loan guarantees likely to cost taxpayers in the next few years? How much are they likely to add to deficits in the next five years? For example, how likely is it that General Motors and Chrysler are likely to repay their billions in bailouts so far? If they are unlikely to repay, shouldn’t the books show these as additional costs to Uncle Sam? That’s what corporations are required to show when they make loans that are unlikely to be repaid. Why not Washington?
  • How should we think about the real cost to the taxpayer of the housing bailout program the President announced last week? Two leading newspapers (The Washington Post, USA Today) called it a $75 billion program; two others (New York Times, Wall Street Journal) put the cost at $275 billion. If some of the best journalists in the country cannot agree on the real costs to taxpayers, shouldn’t the government tell us?
  • What about all the unfunded liabilities that the government is facing just around the corner? The Peter G. Peterson Foundation bought a full -page ad in Sunday’s New York Times pointing out that our entitlement programs – Medicare and Social Security – have some $56 trillion in liabilities stretching into the future. Shouldn’t the Administration give us a full accounting of just how big and serious these monstrous liabilities are?
  • And what about all the different financial programs that the Federal Reserve has launched in an effort to stabilize the economy. How much do they add up to? How will they be covered? How much will fall upon taxpayers? How much might lead to more inflation? To his credit, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke promised at a National Press Club speech last week that the Fed would come up with a better accounting. The White House and Treasury need to hold feet to the fire.

In short, as much as President Obama’s truth in budgeting deserves praise for shedding more light on our financial condition, there is still far too much that is hidden in shadows. With hundreds of billions of dollars in new commitments being casually tossed about, almost numbing in size and always confusing in content, the Obama Administration will do a great deal to begin rebuilding trust and confidence in the future if it tells us what we need to know – and not just part of it, all of it!

Filed under: David Gergen • Economy • President Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (205 Responses)
  1. Annie

    i think David Gergan is about the most honest person to report on the present administration. It has only been a few weeks. I have faith that things will get better. We all need to help. It's a great time to go on a shopping spree-prices are great-get the kids their summer clothes now-you will have to do eventually anyway and yes please do recycle old one to a charity

    February 24, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  2. shawn

    jim you forget this mess started during bush' reign obama is trying to help every american not just the wealthy. the stock market is mostly run by banks the same banks who got us in this mess and you expect us to buy their stocks and their jets and pay for their bonus' i dont think so. all banks involved in taking bail-out money should be under more scrutiny than than auto makers who at least produce a viable product. economys are and always have been driven by product not by moving money .

    February 23, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  3. Tommy

    Is there any money coming from Iraq to the U.S. to help fund the war?

    February 23, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  4. marc schaeffer

    Can I "write off" my Mortgage and CC bills this month since I don't have the money? I called Bank of America and told them that I can NO longer pay them ANY of the balance on my credit card (they seemed confused till I told them that I heard their BOSS, Ken Lewis, explain this is CALLED a WRITEDOWN ........ now I pay CASH and they can "try and get blood from a stone" ......LOL

    February 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm |
  5. Gene Scarborough

    How do we get out of this mess??
    My father told me a real story of the Depression through which he lived. He was a Georgia tenant farmer’s son who was then Pastor of the Pendleton Baptist Church (SC). The great debate was the same as it is today: Republicans wanted to stimulate by using tax money from the top down, the hopeful Democrats and FDR proposed working from the bottom up. They won and now had to come up with some realistic programs to carry it out. I am sure many wise Republicans participated in a balanced program far from the “give aways” we had in Title XX LBJ days. I was part of the Santee-Wateree region in SC representing Lee County.
    The first step involved a major small business of the day: the family farm. Their solution was to recognize there were surpluses such that crop prices were exceptionally low. My maternal grandfather–SC Democratic farmer, no holds bared– had no market for bales of cotton. My mother remembered the front porch cluttered with bales as their place of play.
    The solution: send a check based on an average estimated profit to each farmer who would place his land in the Soil Bank for a year . Thereafter, institute a Crop Stabilization Board which monitored the market and encouraged specified amounts of certain crops which would contribute to a stable farm market in the future. That worked well to the present!
    The result: as soon as farmers received their government checks they went to merchants and paid off their account. The merchants, in turn, paid their suppliers the overdue bills. Those merchants could now order inventory to stock their empty shelves. Everywhere goods began to flow within a month! It was so simple and so effective.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  6. George

    Why doesn't Obama start looking for cuts at the top of the ladder-in his own backyard. It's about time the lawmakers ,who got us in this situation, take cuts in pay and perks. They can well afford their own cars and expenses and pay for part of their healthcare insurance like the rest of us do with the salaries they make.. They should downsize their offices and cut all non essential spending. All illegal aliens should be deported asap–no questions or debate. If they don't respect our country enough of enter it the right way, then we can be sure they will not obey the rest of our laws.These are not the kind of citizens we want in our country. They are using our medical facilities and we are paying for that ,too, in the end. I'm tired of working to support myself, the rich and the poor and the illegal foreigners .I'm a working-poor baby-boomer and watched my retirement investments disappear, thanks to the greedy, rich CEOs and corporate America and the government just turned their heads.Tell Mr Obama to take the high road and take cuts from the Washington lawmakers instead of from the poor, elderly and our children. After all ,we elected these officials to watch our backs, and they let us down. They should make the sacrifices now, to fix the mess. That's the least they can do for us.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  7. Dianne

    A great step in the right direction! Bravo President Obama!

    David, your bulleted items all require a 'crystal ball' to forecast.

    The answers to those items all depend on where the crisis bottoms out. How many homeowners require help? How many of the auto makers go under & can't repay. How many banks need further funding?

    Indeed, hold Bernancke's feet to the fire. And, where is Hank Paulson these days? And, where was Alan Greenspan when I this was going down under his nose?

    The "People's President" is indeed very busy cleaning up this mess.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  8. G Yew

    The stock market tends to act on short term reaction. Buy the rumors and sell the facts and this is how the traders based their reaction or trades. Nothing is an over night fix, takes time and patience is needed. I think President Obama is doing his best and we need to support him like what we did during Election. We need to put party differences aside and work together to get ourselves out of this mess.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:25 pm |
  9. marc schaeffer

    I would like to see OBAMA take a BILLION dollar HELICOPTER trip to a VERY, VERY DARK place !!! It is a disgrace to watch OUR president "laugh" during a rather unusual "town hall" ? meeting tonight while HE single handedly LIES, LIES, LIES and KILLS CAPITALISM and the STOCK MARKET AT THE SAME TIME !!!! Why is my Humana stock now responsible for 2/3's of COBRA insurance. HE IS AN OBAMINATION !!!

    February 23, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  10. Judith, Mississippi

    I listen with interest as your panel discusses night after night why "we," the middle class, are shuting down. Here's the bottom line. We've worked hard, gotten an education, saved our money, and even paid for our childrens' college education. However, those of us who are retired have watched our savings vanish and there simply enough time or opportunity for us to replinsh it. We've bailed ourselves out and yet we are facing April 15 with fear and trembling. There is nothing left for us to do, but "hunker" down and try to survive.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm |
  11. Joe Melcher

    I've always argued that if Pres. Bush had instituted a war tax to pay for the gambit in Iraq, that the American public would have thought twice about blindly following he and Dick in! War withouth sacrifice. What a concept! Too bad it does not work.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  12. Kathy, Chicago

    David, it makes me want to pull the covers over my head in the morning and just stay in bed. The problems we face are mounting quickly. I'm going to have to pick up more hours at work, because I'll be one of the dumb schmos that will have to pay more taxes to fund all of these plans to fix this shameful economy.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  13. Terrie

    Anderson the Q&A session with President Obama's was great today it was both civil and informative. This is the way I want to here politicians discuss real issues in such difficult times. I wish the press coverage of this event was more focused on the issues and less focus on partisan language. More honest reporting and less sensationalism is needed. you should follow up on the Presidents request for Senators to respond to the possess and the policy issues discussed.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  14. Eric, Canada

    You are out to lunch!!
    And ALI VALESHI – thank you for the un-biased reporting. I like how you tied the fall of the market to the nationalization of Citi Group.
    Why don't you do some research and check out the stability of the banks in Canada. Where did you get your Economics degree?
    It is reporting like this that ignores the simple fact that the administration of the last 8 years is why you are where you are. I cannot believe the biased reporting and the stupidity of people.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  15. Evan - Seymour, TN

    Bush may have doubled the national debt the 8 years he was in office, but Obama is far exceeding that with his earmark bill.

    February 23, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  16. Abraham W

    I think the obama amd.should not hold shares in these bank. they should give the banks a line of credit base on bank ass.the bank should pay the gov. back with 5% intrest. by the gov. holding shares in these banks the privet. invested with not want to put money in these bank beause the gov. is running it.what happening now is every body is now tell the bank how to running itself.when the credit card company give u a line of credit they don"t tell u how to spend it as long as u are making ur payment.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  17. Carlos Santos

    President Obama is full of it – here we are in rough times – and my mortage continues to go up every year – I just do not understand this – and wish – President Obama would give me an explanation – of course – since I am in IRAQ right now – we are on the bottom of the list. I just do not understand this at all.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  18. Steve in k.c.

    I hope things get worse, fast. The sooner all of you romantics will wake up. Obama is going for broke. The biggest problem most people have today is failure to identify the real problem and then in-turn underaccessing it. Thinking outside the box is not neccessarily "critical" thought.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  19. r.m.mccarthy

    maybe it's time to end prohibition. that's what roosevelt did. all the money and lives being wasted, especially on the mexican border towns. it's time to legalize drugs and prostitution, tax them and end this ridiculous war on vices that we will never win. even a federal consumption tax would be allot better way to earn tax dollars, then all the illegal dollars made from vices would get to the government and help us out of this no win situation we are now in.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  20. pw

    I am employeed by the State of Montana,

    Until I was employeed by the state, I could have bought into "responsible" spending. Now, I only see just a very small part, but I see many standing in line, waiting for the money to dole out to various projects that will not develop jobs or economy. Waiting for the bailout to build a parking ramp?!

    To tell you the truth..............I am repulsed! How is this going to be regulated?! We are not doing anything but padding gov'ts projects!

    How is this going to be monitored........how are we going to monitor our owm gov't

    February 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  21. dave

    we bail out the banks and today i received 2 notices they are going 2 raise the annual % rate 2 29%.... this is not right .. can anything be done THANKS

    February 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  22. John R. Taylor

    The president is doing a great job, but I would also encourage the President to simulate the housing market. Most people were honest in buying a house, but the bankers were dishonest and untruthful with the mortgages that was used. The banks that we are fixing are the ones that caused the problem. Fix the housing situation and we will see our economy start to turn around. We must provide homebuyers with fixed rate loans, that will help a large number of individuals to own a piece of the dream.

    We must review the credit score process. It is out dated and not a true picture of who we are. I would like to know the score of all the individuals who got us in this mess!

    We must also fix the credit card problem, because we have illegal lending practices going on, with interest rates reaching 30 – 35 % ( if you are a day late on a payment). This is illegal, and it must stop if we are going to fix the problems that we are facing.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  23. Jayne Jones

    Your "economy experts" say that giving money directly to the people as a stimulus didn't work. What is $600. for a family going to do to help? The people that could go blow it on clothes didn't really need it. Those who are poor used it to keep their utilities on or bought food. Give $1M to each citizen and I can guarantee that the economy will be stimulated. Plus, it would be cheaper than what the government has come up with and no pork!

    February 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  24. KIm

    Nationalize the banks ? Are we going for that ? What does that mean ?

    February 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  25. Matthew Guffey

    Our budget seems to be a problem, and so does immigration. We have about 12 million illegal immigrates in the U.S. So, why don't we start an immigration reform that would impose a penalty of say $3,000.00 to make those immigrates illegal. This would make everyone happy. This would stop the underground economy, immigrates would have there papers, immigrates could then pay taxes, and the penalty would bring in 36,000,000,000 which could help the budget or secure the border.

    February 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  26. Deborah

    Mr. Gergen:

    I really respect your views and candid comments. You've been around presidents and gov't long enough to have a valid opinion about various issues. Out of most of the comments made on CNN by reporters and other contributors, I tend to listen to yours b/c you never try to persuade the opinion of the public or slant the issues. You just give the honesty you're asked to give and I can respect that. Nevermind the bashers. We are in an economic crisis and if the truth be told, no one knows how to get us out of it. It's going to be through more trial and error. Everybody thinks they have the answer and no one does. Why don't we focus more on supporting those who have the best educated guess and experience and stop being so mean-spirited and calling folks names. Mr. Bush did whatever he did, right or wrong, but he's gone now...let it go. We can't undo it. President Obama is here now. If the naysayers felt they could get us out of this mess, they should have ran for president...otherwise, stop pointing fingers, finding fault at every turn, and pray that the decisions made are the best ones for us at this time. Nobody knows what to do. Mr. Gergen, I think you're a well respected gentleman and I hope you will continue to give us your unbiased opinion even when it's not welcomed by those who just want something to gripe and complain about. I appreciate you, sir!

    February 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  27. Leila Stuart

    Thank you for this report. At least FINALLY we can have the whole deck of cards on the table! No matter how dismal the picture we can only work with what we have all of it, what we like what we don't and what makes us sick. But its been "sick" that Bush got away without accountability for what he and his war have created, not the only part of our current crisis but a major factor. and talk about trust and optimism – no hope of that unless we have full disclosure.
    And let's give Obama credit for spending when and where he has to and still determined to balance the other side of the equasion with fiscal restraint and responsibility.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  28. Susan Roulier-Jones

    I can't believe it and yet I can. Let a new Senator from Louisiana say" well, we're not taking the money" from the stimulus bill and then applaud him by saying he's the "rising star in the GOP?" I guess, then, that the Gulf Coast and all the New Orleans population will remember how wonderful this is when they vote for him again, right? I don't think so. At a time when Louisiana needs the stim money about more than any other state.....way, way....after Katrina...I'll bet a whole bunch of homeless, landless, and lost Katrina victims could somehow make good use of this stimulus money, not to say anything about the Gulf and the New Orleans infrastructure. Good as gold....anyone?? I think it's the dumbest thing under the sun. In the end, I wonder if all these "new faces of the GOP" will ever get it?

    February 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  29. Luis

    who wants to bank with the government?

    WHO? They cant even balance their own books. We are going to loose more money by nationalizing the banks.

    Id rather want Citi to get very small by selling their assets rather than the government taking over. Who the hell has AIG insurance? The government sucks at business.

    jeez, these socialist are retarded.

    February 23, 2009 at 9:00 pm |

    Apparently the budget is causing a crash in the stock market. I thought we were going to get change. Right. I would rather put up with another 4 year of George W. Bush than the 30 days our socialist president Barack Hussein Obama. When it comes to comparing Obama to Bush, Bush would come out looking like George Washington. We are going into the Democrats turf of tax and spend mentality. I feel sorry for all the people who had IRA'a and 401k money invested in the stock market. Obama's promise to help the working and middle class winds up putting them further in the hole.

    February 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  31. S Callahan New York

    We should know where our money is going.....but truth be told...people aren't going to like what they learn.
    I'd be interested to see what happens in the pharmacy stocks....I'll make a guess the valium drug sales will increase when people start seeing the figures.

    February 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  32. Ratna, New York, NY

    Dear David,

    The failing American economy is also felt world-wide.

    Now when there are budget cuts in health care, institutionalized health care may shift to out-patient care.

    It is bad, but it can be good! Cutting down on a system, which can cover 50 million of Americans in access to health care (I did not use the term "health insurance."

    Now!, a window period of time has opened up to bombard congress with policy changes to re-organize the health adminstrative functions in a more cost-effective and information-coordinative manner: Establishing a nationwide electronic Health Network System will drastically cut health expenses and become a pre-cursor of Universal Health Care.

    The question occurs: Medical socialism? If everyone has the free oppertunity to make money and at the same time has a full right to low cost accessible health care, then it couldn't be!!!

    But a revolution it is!!! 😀


    February 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  33. Tom M

    So now the press, who have been in the practice of wild conjecture on everything this administration has announced, in most cases on a daily basis before having any details, on spending that ONLY TIME WILL TELL, now wants us to get a bigger crystal ball so we can peer even further into the future to determine how badly everything is going to fail.


    The media has become utterly useless in representing fact, and expert on spreading FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt). The credibility of the media deteriorates day by day. So this is what they meant by freedom of the press.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  34. Steph

    It is certainly a much welcomed step in the right direction.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  35. sean

    The President proposes a budget based on what he wants to run the administration and is ultimately responsibile for spending the money; however, congress builds and approves the nations budget and tells the President what he can and can't spend the money. Given the fact that the dems ran congress during most of bush's presidency, it is incorrect to say Bush ran up the debt...a democrat congress gave him the money and told him what he could spend it on. Read your constitution...and learn how your gov't is supposed to work.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  36. Larry L.

    To: Kevin

    President Obama has only been in office for approx. one month. He has trashed our economic system and blown more money in that length of time then Bush did his whole Presidency.

    Why do Democrats and the president keep bringing up the last eight years as justification for this final blow to our economy?After Bush screwed everything up,Democrats are just going to continue destroying our country because the Republicans did a lousy job?We did not need another idiot,we needed somebody that knows what they are doing.
    ——-Two wrongs do not make a right people !!!We cannot afford any more spending because of Bush and congress the last 8 years,we can not keep failing and expect to survive.

    The debt load we are taking on will hurt future generations for decades as our currency is diminished against all other currencies of the world, making our country's exports worth far less, while making all imports (including oil and cars) far more expensive for all of us. With Social Security estimated to go negative in 2017, our country is facing bankruptsy.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  37. John G., High Point, NC

    There is unfortunately no way to balance our national debt without having Americans accept a reduction in the massive entitlement spending or raising taxes, both of which are political suicide. It would amount to everyone giving up too much. We need to do it, but it will never survive the assault of special interests. If you take a close look at the budget you will soon find that social security, medicare, medicaid and DOD are where the money is. Try telling seniors or soon-to retire boomers they are going to have to take a big hit in those programs to balance the budget and see what happens. Or raise taxes. Oh, and you can also fight the AMA and pharmaceutical lobbies on that too. Not to mention what the military-industrial complex would have to say about trimming defense spending. What a joke, our political process has become.

    February 23, 2009 at 7:07 pm |
  38. Annie, Tampa, FL

    Where is the stress? Obama has always come across confident and still does. Why? This 4 year challenge may not be as difficult as some may or the government want us to think it is. I say that because across the media news Obama is spending too much but again today Obama mentions he will work to cut the deficit in half um... what does Obama know that we don't know. The republicans knows and their wall of delays and disagreements will soon faulter; what do you think?

    February 23, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  39. Burt

    You want transparency in figuring out how much government costs us? Eliminate the income tax. Go with a national sales tax. Every time you buy something with a $1.00 price tag and pay around $1.60+, THAT is what governement is costing us.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  40. Pat M Canada

    Hi David,
    I always listen to every word when your speaking as I know your fair, honest, and bipartisan where the truth is concerned. Mr. Rollins is another I listen to very intently as I feel like you, he is a straight shooter. I applaud the President loudly for giving Americans the information on where their Admin stands now and how much debt was inherited. But I also firmly believe Obama is a very compassionate and intelligent man and truly cares about Americans and all people. Hence, I don't think it would be inconceivable for him to consider giving his people a little bad news at a time to digest. And I believe he will give them the rest sooner than later. I'll eat crow if I'm wrong! 🙂 But I still think Obama is the best thing that has happened to Our World since sliced bread! All the Best David, look forward to your next report or seeing you on CNN.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  41. kevin

    Mr. Gergan
    your educated opinions are always fair and bi partisan. I only know as far as healthcare and that is a big contributor here with job loss one fact. The fact is that now...not during Clinton all major healthcare companies are on board as they lose well over 10, 000 subscribers every week. Under Obama you may keep your current healthcare at a far lower cost. If you do not have healthcare, your health why worry about your retirement, house, or next job......they will do you no good without your health and ability to survive.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  42. Kevin

    President Obama has only been in office for approx. one month. He has accomplished more in that length of time then Bush did his whole Presidency. I think he is doing an extraordinary job.
    I keep hearing these politicians on CNN...MSMBC....FOX saying the American people are not pleased with President Obama. I don't know where they are getting their information but everyone I've talked to is very pleased with President Obama. The politicians should quit blaming their disapproval on the American People because we are very happy with the new direction President Obama is taking the country.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  43. feckless

    Where were you for the last 8 years?

    How about not pretending that W didn't exist for once and giving us some context comparing this to the last president?

    Did you ask any of these questions when the GOP controlled government passed a un funded medicare drug benefit and blatantly lied about the cost? (that hands billions to big pharma for no other reason than they asked the republicans for it)

    Money being thrown around? You mean like taking pallets of money to Iraq and handing it out in pizza boxes? You mean like being a "flip flopper" for voting against funding and Iraq bailout with no accounting or oversight?

    Apparently, the budget only matters when the democrats are in charge.

    Where was Mr. Gerson for the last 8 years?

    February 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  44. Government Mule

    The government already DOES budget – and set money aside – upfront for its estimated future losses on the loans and guarantees it makes. (Just like banks do through reserves.) It has done that, by law, since 1992. Just as Presidents Bush and Clinton had to include those costs in their budgets and pay for them, so will President Obama.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  45. sharon from Indy

    For some, the debt seems like an illusion of something that doesn't exist anymore. Real money. With countries exchanging loans and funds between nations, it feels like all the trillions is just a computer number on someone's monitor in some dark office somewhere.

    The illusion of a great standard of living is also "crashing and burning" the great American dream. With out ability to access money and goods, even though we cannot afford it, is taking our American pysche into the pits. We are facing the reality that we are slaves to debt. And then....we see the U.S. Government going into more and more debt.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  46. libertyville

    I would like to see truth about income txes come out. I was promised a $400 tax cut, but despite a significant income decrease due to a job loss, I expect my federal taxes to increase by $4,000 due to the AMT. The net result is a tax increase in my simple thinking. Counting me and millions of others as gaining a tax decrease is total fabrication.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  47. Ray Fisher

    There are two methods to budgeting, top-down slice & dice and bottom-up build &bind. America has always taken the top-down slice & dice approach to budget cutting/balancing and have missed loads of waste. After 233 years of waste, I recommend the bottom-up build & bind each appropriation to an actual need approach determining the needs of our nation rather than the wants of its requestors. If the budget team comprised of OMB, CBO and commitees would simply substanciate every line-item in the budget as a need first, the budget would automatically become self-balancing because by starting with a bare-frame the waste and abuses become self-evident by requiring public scrutinty and justification.

    February 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  48. Wes from Houston

    "Let’s just see how Bobby Jindal’s Neo-con Republican Dogma plays out"
    Got your mind made up before he even speaks, huh?
    Dems – get some facts and then make your opinions known. What are you afraid to hear him say. This has been the most embarrassing first days of a presidency ever.
    Ooops after Ooops after breaking every single promise.
    Days to see new legislation before signing?
    No lobbyists in the cabinet? Transparency – really, when and where?
    Economy in so much terror that there is no more time to write the stimulus bill – need it today!
    Then take four and a half days to sign the emergency stimulus bill – please – no respect for our intelligence...just to name a few...
    Come on David, it has been amateur hour and you know it. Hopefully Obama will learn as he goes but ... wow!

    February 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm |
  49. fan123

    Although I do agree, I Think the result of your suggestion may cause a significant drop in confidence in US financial state. This may be what the White House is worried about. If The W.H. was to be as open as you have suggested, I would be interested in how other international governments fair financially versus the U.S.? It seems there is more and more opposition to the W.H. from the right, not that the right has any more intelligence, rather, they have other interests. So, for this reason your suggestion would serve the American people well, and give them an idea of where the country is financially, in deciding the best step forward.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  50. Mike, Syracuse NY

    So David, If the deficit is $1.3 trillion this fiscal year (FY09), it will be higher next fiscal year when all that stimulus spending kicks in. So let's say $1.5 trillion in FY10. Assuming he can cut it in half to $750 trillion in FY11, and $533 trillion in FY12; that means Obama will add $4.1 trillion debt in 4 years. He will easily take the spending crown from Bush.

    February 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
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