Dave, I agree that if we do achieve a “surplus,” using it to help offset the transition costs of implementing personal accounts would be a good start. But I’m not sure I’d call it “Balanced Budget Conservatism.” Such a name would tend to emphasize the annual budget and de-emphasize the long-term entitlements deficit. I think the focus on annual balanced budgets during the 1990s lead to the explosion in spending in this decade, because once Congress had a “surplus” to spend, they went on a binge, and didn’t address our dire long-term situation. As I have written before, I think it is important for conservatives to emphasize that this shrinking deficit we’re seeing is being driven by higher revenues as a result of tax cuts spurring economic growth, not as a result of any commitment to fiscal discipline on the part of our lawmakers. And let’s hold their feet to the fire on “mandatory” spending.
UPDATE: The actual CBO release Dave mentioned is here. Just to clarify, it says the FY 2007 deficit is estimated to be “toward the lower end” of its previously indicated $150 billion-$200 billion range. So that would presumably mean somewhere under $175 billion. The deficit was $158 billion for the first 10 months of the 2007 fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Also, further my point, “Revenues are about 7 percent higher than in the same period last year, outpacing the nearly 3 percent growth in outlays.”
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