Who Swiped The Surplus?

Bush's tax cut and the economic slump popped the cushion. Why it matters--and how the blame game will play out

It seems like only a few months ago that the federal budget surplus was unfurling like a vast, star-spangled security blanket, a cushion of cash that stretched farther than the eye could see. Wait. It was only a few months ago. In April the White House projected a surplus of $281 billion for this fiscal year and $3.4 trillion for the next 10 years--enough to fund Bush's tax cuts and Congress's spending programs, missile defense and school reform, private Social Security investment accounts and a prescription-drug benefit for seniors, with a ton of money left over to pay down the national...

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