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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Guns, butter economy works for only so long

President Bush is not going nearly far enough in his attempt to curb spending. With the budget proposal at $2.57 trillion without money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cuts and elimination of programs he proposes only slow the growth of national debt.

The debt today is $7.6 trillion. By his figures, his budget will add another $390 billion, which will push the debt to a record $8 trillion. Then, there is the war debt to consider.

For decades, economists argued that Americans owed the debt to themselves, so it really wasn't debt.

That's creative financing, of course, and a philosophy that is no longer in play.

More and more, foreigners, including China, are buying United States debt, which means they have a form of ownership in America.

The nation must lay out the cash to finish the wars. In the meanwhile, if Congress does its job, it will insist that the president make a greater attempt to wipe out the deficit.

Americans may not care what the International Monetary Fund thinks, but our people need to hear its assessment of our mess.

A report published last month said that large U.S. budget deficits pose significant risks for the United States and the rest of the world. It called the rising external debt, estimated to hit the equivalent of 40 percent of gross domestic product within the next few years, an unprecedented level for a large industrial country. It warned such debt could destabilize international financial markets.

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