Bush’s new budget relies on imaginary Arctic Refuge revenue

You’re the president, you’ve promised to cut the country’s enormous deficit in half by the end of your term, and you’re required to produce a budget showing how you’re going to do it. You’ve got a Congress that hasn’t consented to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, enormously expensive wars going in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a plan to privatize Social Security set to cost over a trillion dollars. What to do? Pretend! In Bush’s budget plan unveiled yesterday, no expenditures for the wars or Social Security privatization are accounted for, but projected revenues include $1.2 billion in two years from leases to drill in the Arctic Refuge. Even if the drilling gets approval — despite staunch opposition from Democrats and some moderate Republicans, and threats by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) to filibuster it — realistic projections put actual drilling revenue at least three years out and full production some eight years out. In related news, Grist projects 2006 revenues of $1 kajillion.