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BUSH: Will Cut Deficit in Half in 5 Years

Bush: "The budget I just proposed to the Congress cuts the deficit in half in five years. Now, I don't know what the assumptions are in the GAO report, but I do know that if Congress is wise with the people's money, we can cut the deficit in half. [Bush, Meet the Press, 2/8/04]

FACT: Deficit Will Be Significantly Higher Than Bush Claims

Bush Spending Projections Ignore $200 Billion in Costs In 2009: Bush’s projection excludes about $200 billion in costs in 2009. Specifically, OMB figures are not likely to account for costs such as the Pentagon’s “Future Year Defense Plan,” continued spending for operations in Iraq, relief for the Alternative Minimum Tax after 2005, $1 trillion in transition costs for privatizing Social Security, making the Bush tax cuts permanent, extending popular tax credits that are regularly renewed every couple years, and the off-budget spending for the war on terrorism. [Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, 1/21/04]

Bush Is Also Likely To Propose Spending Increases For 2005 Budget: Bush is pushing for a variety of spending increases that would add to the deficit, including small programs-like the financing of high-school drug testing-in addition to larger expenses like the space exploration and off-budget defense spending. [Wall Street Journal Online, 1/26/04]