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Bush's Deficit Plan Is All in the Math; The budget strategy to halve the shortfall by 2009 relies on how and what things are counted.
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Public policy; Accounting procedures; Federal budget; Budget deficits
Author: Havemann, Joel
Date: Feb 7, 2005
Start Page: A.1
Section: Main News; Part A; National Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

It is the 2004 deficit that [Bush] is promising to cut in half, but he's not starting with the actual 2004 deficit of $412 billion.

Instead, his benchmark is the projected $521-billion deficit that his Office of Management and Budget estimated a year ago, when the fiscal year was four months old. Using half of that figure, Bush's goal is to reach a deficit of $260.5 billion.

There are more twists. Bush proposes to cut the deficit in half not in dollars but as a share of the economy. If the economy grows, as is projected, then the deficit will decline as a share of the economy even if it does not shrink by a single dollar.

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