Friday, February 11, 2005

Rove Runs the Show

Or at least according to the Financial Times, he's been promoted:
In addition to responsibility for political affairs and strategic initiatives, Mr Rove has been appointed deputy chief of staff to co-ordinate policy, both domestic and international.

Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, suggested Mr Rove's chief focus would be economic policy, domestic policy and international economic policy, leaving national security and intelligence to Joe Hagin, the other deputy chief of staff.
Brad Setser also has more on this as well as a pessimistic attitude toward the new budget:
It is hard to make a big dent in a $430 billion deficit with small cuts, no matter how much political heat they generate.

Limiting farm subsidies for large producers: annual savings of $0.6 billion, from what I can gather.

Getting rid of Amtrak subsidies: annual savings of $1.2 billion.

Cutting Medicaid reimbursement of the states: annual savings of $4.5 billion.

Cost of transforming the Army now being hidden in the supplemental budget: at least $20 billion

Cost of the Medicare prescription drug benefit: now estimated at roughly $70 billion a year over the next ten years, with annual costs of closer to $100 billion a year in 2014. The actual cost is closer to $1200 billion over ten years, but there are supposedly offsetting savings that would reduce the real cost to "only" $700 billion. I don't know enough to know if those savings will prove to be real, or just smoke and mirrors. Note that the Administration kept the initial ten year cost estimate of the drug benefit down in part by not implementing it immediately, so the ten year estimate included several years of no spending -- their Social Security forecasts use the same trick.

The cost of the Administration's plan to privatize Social Security without cutting current benefits: lots more than that.

No comments: