Bush’s Legacy: Record debt of $490 billion for the next President to fix.

I remember a couple of years back, I think it was shortly after Bush won re-election, an old friend of mine challenged me to consider the possibility that President Bush just might be a good thing for this country and, more specifically, for me. Some of you may recall that as it occurred here in an SEB thread. I was, shall we say, dubious of the suggestion and time has only borne that skepticism out.

Now comes word that the Bush Administration is updating a previous forecast of next year’s deficit to an all new record:

WASHINGTON — The White House has increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office, a report due out Monday shows.

The projected deficit for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 is being driven higher by the continuing economic slowdown and larger-than-anticipated costs of the two-year, $168 billion fiscal stimulus package passed by Congress, said two senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the report. In February, President Bush predicted the 2009 deficit would be $407 billion.

The budget update shows this year’s deficit headed under $400 billion, at least $10 billion less than projected, according to the two officials. That’s partly because tax revenue held up reasonably well despite the weaker economy.

Keep in mind that the above is just the current estimate, the actual deficit could end up much higher – and it probably will – as this doesn’t reflect the full funding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and if the economy gets any worse, well, that’ll just add to the red ink.

I’ve said before that I’d take Bill Clinton back in a heartbeat if it were possible and the following USA Infographic pretty much shows why:

Click to embiggen!

Oh my but that’s fascinating, eh? It shows the “deficit or surplus as a percentage of the economy” which is probably why W’s chart isn’t just a long downward slide as the economy was doing pretty good for awhile in spite of Bush’s antics. We have a Republican, Republican, Tax-and-Spend Democrat, and a Republican. I don’t know about you, but that tax-and-spend democrat is looking pretty damn good in comparison.

I suppose we should try to look on the bright side, though. The current projected deficit for 2009 as a share of the economy is only 3% to 4% which is still below the post-World War II record of 6% set in 1983 during the time of one of the most beloved Presidents of the Republican party, Ronald Reagan.