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The Call That Bush Didn't Make

Meanwhile, the president who asked nothing of the country continued to squander the budget surpluses he inherited while pressing larger and larger tax cuts on the wealthiest of his constituents and supporters. Tax cuts became the sovereign remedy for everything in the Bush years, even, or especially, when it became clear that the budgets had turned to deficits and we were borrowing abroad to finance these revenue giveaways.

The upside-down logic of borrowing in order to cut taxes pervaded the rest of our public and private economic decision making, feeding the speculative booms that fueled unsustainable "bubbles" in financial and housing markets.

Now the inevitable crash has come, and the nation is facing a deficit of more than $1.2 trillion -- an unimaginable sum -- in the current year.

"The simple fact," says Peter Orszag, the incoming head of the Office of Management and Budget, "is that under current policies the federal budget is on an unsustainable path."

It has been on that path for many years, particularly since President Bush declared war on America's enemies without asking for the higher taxes needed to pay for it. Your grandchildren will be paying for that misjudgment.

davidbroder@washpost.com


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