There's a strange silence in Washington these days about the federal deficit, the New York Times reports, as the immediate economic crisis trumps worries about adding hundreds of billions in debt. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are unusually sanguine about paying for the bank bailouts and another proposed stimulus package by borrowing. Rates are relatively cheap now, the Times notes, but when the economy rebounds, the bill will rise.
Most economic watchdogs agree it’s money that has to be spent. “Right now would not be the time to balance the budget,” one balanced-budget proponent says. But all worry falling taxes and growing spending will create a deficit that will take years to recover from. “The next president will inherit a fiscal and economic mess of historic proportions,” one Democrat says.