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Neil Cavuto's Formula for Success

Reported by Melanie - July 11, 2006 -

Predictably, the first segment today (July 11, 2006) on Your World w/Cavuto was about the Bush administration cutting its forecast for this year's budget deficit by almost a third.

Cavuto opened the show saying that tax revenues are "piling up," and then he introduced Fox employee Tobin Smith, a regular on Fox's "business news" shows, and Jason Furman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, for a discussion on whether or not Bush's tax cuts are a "formula for success." Smith and Cavuto, of course, thought they were but Furman tried - I said tried - to bring some perspective to the discussion but, being the partisan pro that he is, Cavuto kept that from happening.

Midway through the segment Cavuto turned to Furman and said,

But, now John Kennedy, a Democrat last time I checked, when he was president, his tax cuts went into effect after he died, created enormous revenues at the time, as did Ronald Reagan's. I think you're quite right to say the government spending is a real culprit because it spends all that money that comes in and then some. But tax cuts, clearly, across three different distinct presidencies, have created a lot of money, right?

Furman:

Lets look at where we thought revenues were going to be. In February of 2002 there was a projection for where revenues would be this year. In February, 2002. That's after 9/11. That's after the tech bubble, after the stock market, all that stuff. Revenues this year are $60 billion below what we expected them to be back then. Why? Because we've had...

Cavuto, interrupting:

Do you put any stake...because...hold on...be careful about this...do you put any stake in government estimates that said at the beginning of the Clinton years we'd be looking at trillions of deficits [sic] compounded into a massive debt, when they got it wrong then, even when we were piling up surpluses that were sure to be short lived? Switch it around; when Bush became president and the surpluses would go on forever. In other words, government estimates are like my diet calls - bad.

Furman:

Oh, I agree with that. If you look at the last 23 forecasts CBO [Congressional Budget Office] has made on taxes, 11 times they were too high, 12 times they were too low. They were about right...

Cavuto, talking over:

So, don't put your stake in estimates, right?

Furman:

They were about right, but the average error was $150 billion.

Comment: Classic shoot the messenger stuff. When a guest like Furman uses estimates to make a point negative to the Bush administration, Cavuto dismisses estimates, and the guest's point (and the guest himself, for that matter), altogether. But when the Bush administration uses estimates to proclaim that the budget deficit will, at the end of the year, be lower than expected, it's a "formula for success."