washingtonpost.com thought the story was about Dingy Harry Reid blasting Alan Greenspan. The real story should have been that the Democrats leader in the Senate thinks it’s just fine to fabricate ridiculous numbers out of thin air. The Post quotes Reid as saying:
“We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That’s, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people.”
Huh? The national debt to the penny is currently (3/2/05) $7,708,311,813,268.56. That would be $7 trillion dollars. By way of comparison, it was $5,674,178,209,886.86 on 9/30/2000. Average deficit $463 billion. Way too big. Yup. “$3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit”? Not even close. Not even in the ballpark. So utterly outlandish that there ought to be a censure resolution.
I can’t even figure out what the numbers he used are. There was never anything like a $7 trillion dollar surplus, of course. At the time that would have represented something like 70% of GDP. He’s not confusing the deficit with the debt either (which would prove that he was really stupid instead of dishonest), unless he is lowballing it by 50% (which would prove that he’s really really stupid). And even if he was talking debt, that still doesn’t explain that $7 trillion “surplus” he fabricated.
Of course, I suppose I should give Dingy Harry the benefit of the doubt since it was a quote from the Post.