Earlier this month, the Journal wrote the following in an editorial blaming deficits on spending increases:
The real runaway train is what CBO calls a "substantial increase in spending" that is "on an unsustainable path." That's for sure.
In fact, however, the first quoted phrase comes on page ix of the report (PDF) and the second quoted phrase comes from page xii.
Here's the first quote, which pertains to the year-to-year change from 2007 to 2008 and also blames "a halt in the growth of tax revenues":
CBO expects the deficit to rise from 1.2 percent of GDP in 2007 to 2.9 percent this year (see Summary Table 1). The significant expansion in the deficit is the result of a substantial increase in spending and a halt in the growth of tax revenues.
And here's the second quote three pages later, which pertains to long-term trends in entitlement and health care spending:
Over the long term, the budget remains on an unsustainable path. Unless changes are made to current policies, growing demand for resources caused by rising health care costs and the nation's expanding elderly population will put increasing pressure on the budget...
The CBO then goes on to discuss expected growth in these costs over the next century and advocate adjustments in spending and taxes to reduce projected deficits.
The two quotes are substantially different in context and meaning. Yet the Journal jams them together without regard for accuracy. You just can't trust them.
[By the way, the Journal's argument in the editorial is misleading -- the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that 82% of the deterioration in the federal budget since 2001 that can be attributed to legislation comes from tax cuts (42%) and defense and homeland security spending (40%).]