In a story on the Washington Post website, William Branigin manages the rare feat of casting appropriate doubt on the President's misleading tax and budget claims:
Democrats have long derided Bush's deficit-cutting boasts, saying he routinely ignores the huge debt that the federal government has accumulated since he was inaugurated in January 2001. From a record surplus of $237 billion in fiscal 2000 under President Bill Clinton, the budget began slipping into deficit under Bush, in part because of a sluggish economy, falling tax revenue, the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq.
But after reaching a record $413 billion in 2004, the budget deficit dropped to $248 billion in the 2006 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, thanks largely to higher tax receipts from corporations and individuals.
The claim that the federal budget deficit has been cut in half stems from the administration's original projection of a $512 billion deficit for 2004, a number that critics have said was inflated, especially since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was forecasting $477 billion at the time.
Some economists also have charged that Bush has claimed unwarranted credit for his tax cuts, which they say have cost the Treasury more in lost revenue than has been gained from their economic stimulus effect.
According to Alan D. Viard, a former Bush White House economist who joined the American Enterprise Institute, "Federal revenue is lower today than it would have been without the tax cuts. There's really no dispute among economists about that."
Viard said in October there was "no evidence" that Bush's tax cuts come anywhere close to paying for themselves, a conclusion shared by economists at the Treasury Department and the nonpartisan CBO, Washington Post staff writer Lori Montgomery reported.
The Congressional Research Service has estimated that economic growth fueled by the tax cuts is likely to generate revenue worth about 7 percent of their total cost, which amounts to about $1.1 trillion since 2001.
PS Add Viard to the list of current and former Bush administration economists who have stated that his tax cuts have not increased revenue.
Update 1/4 8:17 AM: Where'd it go? Brad DeLong points out that the link which once led to Branigin's article now points to a Peter Baker article that ran on page A1 of today's paper -- and omits all of the content quoted above:
But, alas, the act of journamalism was only temporary. If you click on Brendan's link or search the Post's website, you find that the story is gone. It has been replaced: journalism to journamalism. Somebody decided the Post's readers needed to be protected from learning about the estimates of CBO, about the consensus of economists, and about the fact that the Bushies highballed their forecast to make it easier to cut it in half.
Now we see a different story--with no quotes from real economists, with no quotes from budget analysts outside the Heritage Foundation, with un-fact-checked quotes from Bush's budget director, and with no challenge to Bush's claim that the tax cuts have raised revenue--by the obsequious Peter Baker.
Branigin's article has apparently been completely disappeared -- it shows up in the Post search engine, but the links lead to Baker's article.