From President Bush’s Wall Street Journal op-ed available this morning:
Because revenues have grown and we’ve done a better job of holding the line on domestic spending, we met our goal of cutting the deficit in half three years ahead of schedule. By continuing these policies, we can balance the federal budget by 2012 while funding our priorities and making the tax cuts permanent. In early February, I will submit a budget that does exactly that. The bottom line is tax relief and spending restraint are good for the American worker, good for the American taxpayer, and good for the federal budget. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the American people.
I’m dying to know where the cuts are going to be in this budget. Not, presumably, in defense, Social Security, Medicare, homeland security, or Medicaid. But to balance the budget while keeping the Bush tax cuts permanent without cutting those programs would require really, really steep cuts elsewhere. Certainly I wouldn’t advise working together in a bipartisan manner with the White House on this. Either there are going to be some really egregious accounting gimmicks, or else there are going to be some proposed cuts that should be wielded as a mighty political bludgeon against those Republicans who, unlikely Bush, need to run for re-election. Realistically, the best thing that can be done for the budget short-term is to allow the bulk of the Bush tax cuts to expire.