Proof we have to keep our eyes on the lame duck administration at ALL times!! Many of the domestic cuts are going to ENRAGE even the neocons ... as they will affect them PERSONALLY - like highways going further down the tube. Talk about an upcoming infrastructure collapse!
Military KeynesianISM has brought America to its knees, and things can get worse.
Dana, Dana, Dana! You are a tool and a disgrace to our sex.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush forecast the budget deficit would more than double in 2008 and blamed a weakening economy as he unveiled a $3.1 trillion spending plan for fiscal 2009 on Monday that would nearly freeze domestic programs.
The White House projections were immediately criticized by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who said the numbers may gloss over the full extent of the fiscal deterioration.
With the economy teetering on the brink of a recession, Bush said the deficit would reach $410 billion for the budget year 2008 that ends on September 30 and $407 billion for fiscal 2009 that begins on October 1.
The budget makes military spending and the Iraq war its centerpiece, proposing a 7.5 percent increase for the Pentagon to $515 billion. On top of that Bush also sought $70 billion more for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The grimmer budget situation will be inherited by the next president, who succeeds Bush in January 2009.
"Far from proposing a plan to fix the budget, the Bush administration proposes policies that worsen it, and with little compunction, leaves the consequences for the next administration and future generations,"said House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, a South Carolina Democrat.
New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, was almost as scathing, saying the budget lacked credibility.
"This budget must have been viewed by them more as an academic exercise than a serious exercise because it's not a serious budget," Gregg told Reuters in an interview.
"There are even more games than usual."
BALLOONING BUDGET DEFICIT
Bush forecast deficits of over $400 billion in the next two years. That would be more than twice the size of the $162 billion gap of 2007 and approach the $413 billion all-time high for the deficit hit in 2004.
The bigger deficits, caused in part by weakening revenues amid a slower economy, would reverse a trend of the past three years in which annual deficits declined.
A promised $150 billion stimulus package of tax rebates meant to jolt the economy away from recession will also add to the deficit, at least in the short term, and funding for the Iraq war is another source of red ink.
"The budget takes into account that we're going to see a slowdown in the economy, a temporary one," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "It takes into account the economic stimulus package we're going to put in place in order to shield against that."
Bush said despite the worsening near-term deficit, it would still be possible to balance the budget by 2012 while making tax cuts he made in 2001 and 2003 permanent.
Lawmakers gave numerous reasons why they thought his budget masked the true fiscal woes.
They noted it only includes a portion of the expected funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2009 and the economic forecasts underlying the figures are above those of private-sector economists.
The blueprint also assumes deep cuts in many popular domestic programs such as highway funds and heating assistance for the poor, in addition to wringing out billions in savings from the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.
While many -- if not most -- of the priorities of the Bush budget will be jettisoned by the Democratic-led U.S. Congress, the unveiling of the document is sure to trigger a new round of sparring over Bush's fiscal policies and his economic legacy.
Bush has taken heat even from some of his fellow Republicans for allowing spending to rise sharply on his watch, but with the Democratic takeover in Congress last year, he has emphasized a tougher approach on spending and frequently used veto threats to limit domestic spending.
Democrats have hammered Bush for presiding over a shift to deficits after taking office amid budget surpluses, pointing to a jump in the national debt to $9 trillion from about $5.6 trillion when Bush took office in January 2001.
In addition to freezing scores of programs, Bush proposed cutting others totaling $7.1 billion and reducing still others by some $11 billion.
One area in which Bush did propose more spending was for combating illegal immigration, a move aimed at appeasing many Republicans who want to crack down on the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
Bush sought a 17 percent increase in funding for customs and immigration enforcement and protection, including some $775 million for building and guarding a border fence and $442 million for more border patrol agents.
(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Richard Cowan; Editing by Lori Santos)