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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Private sins and public service

I have long been totally irritated with the gossipy interest in personal scandals unrelated to fitness to serve in public office (long means before Clinton). Now I wonder. I still feel a bit guilty about paying attention to Bush's going AWOL, since it was long ago, but now I think Bush and Cheney's record of fraudulent accounting matter. It seems they are now planning to cook the federal books by counting the social security surplus as offsetting part of the general revenue budget deficit while keeping the costs of their social security partial privatisation off the books.

"As they lay the groundwork for what will probably be a controversial fight over Social Security, Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration are examining a number of accounting strategies that would allow the expensive transition to a partially privatized Social Security system without -- at least on paper -- expanding the country's record annual budget deficits. The strategies include, for example, moving the costs of Social Security reform "off-budget" so they are not counted against the government's yearly shortfall."

To paraphrase Dirkson "a trillion here a trilion there and soon you are talking real money."

Now I can't imagine a general revolt over accounting standards, so I guess the economy is screwed. I thought they couldn't shock me anymore but this made my jaw drop.

Via Atrios of course.

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