Kerry's Spendthrift Ways

Article excerpt


Considering the major reversal in the nation's fiscal position in recent years, John Kerry ought to be able to score some points over the budget deficit. President Bush "was handed a [10-year] $5.6 trillion surplus," Mr. Kerry declared during Friday's debate. "We now have a [$2.3] trillion deficit," which represents "the biggest turnaround in the history of the country."

However, Mr. Kerry's efforts to exploit the deficit fail when all the facts are considered. That's because he has spent his entire political career as an unrepentant, big-spending, tax-hiking liberal. Indeed, during the same debate, despite the fact that federal education spending under Mr. Bush has increased more than 80 percent, rising from $35 billion in fiscal 2001 to a projected $64 billion in the current fiscal year, Mr. Kerry lamented that the president has "underfunded" education by at least $28 billion. His solution is to propose education "initiatives" costing an additional $207 billion over 10 years. Last year, Mr. Kerry opposed the Medicare prescription-drug plan, not because this self-styled budget hawk objected to the plan's estimated $400 billion cost over 10 years. Having voted for a Democratic alternative the year before that would have cost 50 percent more, he wanted to spend more, much more.

In fact, Mr. Kerry's presidential policy agenda just overflows with big-ticket spending items. Last week, for example, the deficit-fighting Concord Coalition released a report complaining that Mr. Kerry's signature 10-year, $653 billion health-care proposal had so many "back-loaded costs" that it "grows by 50 percent between 2009 and 2014," a period that conveniently follows his dubious pledge to cut the deficit in half by 2009. Even accepting at face value Mr. Kerry's claim that his health-care plan would realize $300 billion in savings (a review by the American Enterprise Institute found that its net cost would actually exceed $1.5 trillion over a decade), the Concord Coalition concluded that the Kerry health plan "would assume significant budgetary risk."

The Concord Coalition also found that "Senator Kerry's budget framework would result in a higher level of discretionary spending than the president's proposals," producing "a difference of $300 billion" over 10 years. …