Facts Hurt

During the opening of the debate, John McCain spent a great deal of time either pivoting to or expounding upon the great many benefits of crusading against pork-barrel spending as a means to reign in government spending. I’d make a joke, but this chart is only punchline needed.

In this light — and indeed I think McCain did make this argument — combating earmark spending, such as through the ludicrous promise to veto any earmarked bill, would be of largely attitudinal benefit. The virtue of positive thinking notwithstanding, it would be nice to hear how McCain plans on curbing spending while expanding Bush’s tax cuts on the wealthy without cutting Social Security or Medicare. I’d say cutting defense spending is an option too, but if you think McCain’s going to slash defense, I have some Lehman stock I’d like to sell you.

Balancing the Budget

The CBO released their update to budget projections from year 2008 through 2018 today, and the numbers don’t look good. And there’s this, from MarketWatch.

Unlike the February update, which showed the budget roughly in balance through 2018 under favorable assumptions, the September projection now sees deficits totaling $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years. Those projections assume that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and that the alternative minimum tax is not changed. If the tax cuts are extended as the White House and the McCain-Palin ticket want, the deficits over the next 10 years would be $4.2 trillion higher than now projected, CBO said.

Of course, $4.2 trillion is nothing $18 billion of pork-barrel busting can’t solve.