One of the points I made in my Bush rehabilitation smackdown post earlier today is that it's wildly disingenuous to cast the overoptimistic budget projections as a mistake that gobsmacked everybody. It was Democrats who were arguing that the projections are uncertain, and the Republicans treating them like money in the bank.
One reader sends along this bit from Bill Clinton's 2000 Democratic National Convention speech:
Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will keep our prosperity going by paying down the debt, investing in education and health care, moving more people from welfare to work, and providing family tax cuts that we can afford. In stark contrast, Republicans want to spend every dime of our projected surplus and then some on big tax cuts - leaving nothing for education or Medicare prescription drugs, nothing to extend the life of Medicare and Social Security, nothing in case the projected surpluses don't come in.
You wouldn't sign a binding contract today to spend all your projected income for the next ten years, leaving nothing for your families' basic needs, for emergencies, or for a cushion in case the raise you expect doesn't come in.
Needless to say, Republican rhetoric was just the opposite. George W. Bush's convention speech:
Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend.
But they've got it backwards. The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.