Going in the Wrong Direction

Just last week, the president announced that he planned to cut the deficit in half over the next five years. Yet the latest deficit projection for 2005 is now $20b higher than the previous projection:

In its bi-annual budget outlook, details of which were obtained by Reuters from congressional sources, the nonpartisan agency forecast a federal deficit of $477 billion in 2004, only $3 billion less than the last forecast made in August.

It predicted next year’s deficit will total $362 billion, up from $341 billion predicted in August. Based on current federal spending plans and tax policy, the deficit is expected to reach nearly $1.89 trillion between 2005 and 2014, up from prior predictions of $1.4 trillion in the next decade.

Of course, it might be easier to cut the deficit in half after first doubling it.