File this under “news that will only surprise people who still believe the President.” Looks like next year’s deficit is going to be bigger, not smaller. Here’s the crux of the matter:

Administration officials quickly dismissed the Congressional projections as too speculative to take seriously, noting that long-term budget projections have been notoriously inaccurate. But the new analysis is nonetheless based on fairly cautious assumptions. It assumes that economic growth will surge next year and remain solid for the rest of the decade. The biggest reason for potentially much higher deficits is the added cost of legislation that both the White House and the Republican majority in Congress support.

In other news, Paul Bremer gave an interview to the Washington Post. You won’t be surprised to learn that what he wants is more money. Here’s how the article starts:

Iraq will need “several tens of billions” of dollars from abroad in the next year to rebuild its rickety infrastructure and revive its moribund economy, and American taxpayers and foreign governments will be asked to contribute substantial sums, U.S. occupation coordinator L. Paul Bremer said yesterday.

I’m all for coughing up that money. It’s going to be expensive and painful, but we stuck our foot in the middle of it by invading Iraq, and as far as I’m concerned it’s now our responsibility to do our best to fix things there. Unfortunately we have a President who refuses to acknowledge the real requirements of the task before us, both in terms of money and manpower. Every honest, informed observer said prior to the war that post-war Iraq was going to be like this: a money pit that was going to take hundreds of thousands of soldiers to properly secure. The White House told us something different. It looks like I might die waiting for the political fallout from that, though.