Simply stated - it won't work. Period. This stinging front page story in this morning's L.A. Times should leave a mark. Maybe. Perhaps. I genuinely don't know anymore.
Bush's Cut-and-Spend Plan Is Math-ChallengedScratch the economy off that short list of stuff Bush knows.
To hear President Bush talk about his plans for a second term, voters might think that the era of big government spending is back.
From his proposal to overhaul Social Security to his commitment to fighting terrorism and his initiatives on health, education and job training, the agenda Bush is spelling out in speeches and campaign documents calls for the robust use of government money.
All this comes from the same candidate who promises to cut the federal budget deficit in half by 2009 and whose Cabinet agencies are preparing for some serious belt-tightening of domestic programs if he is reelected.
That mixed message — a smaller deficit, but costly new initiatives — may have more appeal to swing voters than the simpler message of old-fashioned conservatism, which calls for smaller government and less spending.
But many analysts say Bush's second-term promises may be a poor predictor of what he could actually accomplish. Even some administration allies say it would be nearly impossible for Bush to achieve all his ambitious objectives and still halve the deficit by 2009.
"Can it be done?" said G. William Hoagland, top budget aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "Sure. On paper. But politically it's very difficult."
To do it all, Hoagland said, "lots of other things would have to be eliminated, terminated."