The Note

More: "Two weeks ago, the investment banking firm Goldman Sachs used many of the same assumptions to project deficits over the same period totaling $4.5 trillion."

But … ."Conservatives and another Wall Street firm said such estimates are unreliable and probably overstated."

Gerald F. Seib of the Wall Street Journal pines for Ross Perot in his column about how all of Washington is deficit-tolerant, what with tax cuts and spending increases as far as the eye can see.

He makes no mention of the alternative minimum tax (Jerry: did you skip yesterday's paper and Note?), and seems to blame things more on the amorphous culture of Washington than on, say, President Bush.

Which member of the Democrat Senate caucus will hand Senator Kennedy Yale professor Jacob Hacker's New York Times op-ed piece warning about the "privatization" disaster he sees the current Medicare plans to be? LINK

Jonathan Kaplan has a grand time in The Hill sharing in vivid detail House Republicans' efforts to get the Medicare prescription drug bill passed last week. LINK

Fiscal crises In the states:

California and New Jersey have been grabbing the headlines, but a host of other states are finding themselves deep down that budget-crisis hole.

The New York Times ' John M. Broder makes the California situation the centerpiece of his national round-up of all the states in trouble, and the NGA's Ray Scheppach seems to have retired "perfect storm" for the time being, but stays with the water metaphor in talking richly about a "shark pen." LINK Concord Monitor's Lisa Wangsness looks at the New Hampshire budget fight: "The House narrowly failed to override Gov. Craig Benson's veto of the Legislature's 2004-05 state budget yesterday, leaving New Hampshire without a new two-year spending plan when the 2004 fiscal year began at midnight this morning." LINK "The government will not shut down today, however, because lawmakers passed a temporary budget that will keep the state running through Oct. 1. A new team of legislative negotiators will meet with Benson soon to begin working on a new compromise."

The Montgomery Advertiser's Mike Cason reports, "Gov. Bob Riley's finance director announced Tuesday that the governor would draw $180 million from a new Rainy Day Fund to close a deficit in the education budget for the budget year that ends Sept. 30." LINK "That move was expected since at least January. But some state agency heads were surprised to learn they were ineligible for Rainy Day Fund dollars and will have to cut their budgets immediately."

The politics of gay marriage:

Here's an exchange between Second Lady Lynne Cheney told Wolf Blitzer in a very recent interview:

"BLITZER: And the other big issue that came out, the gay rights decision, effectively saying that they can't be discriminated against. Homosexuals and lesbians in the bedroom. Is that something you've been thinking about? What did you make of that?"

"CHENEY: Well it seemed to me to be exactly the right decision. I've been a conservative for a pretty long time. And it's always seemed to me to be a stretch, the idea that somehow government has any business in bedrooms." LINK Now then:

The White House has said very little about the opinion, which struck down a Texas law banning gay sodomy. Spokesman Ari Fleischer did say that, as Governor of Texas, Mr. Bush supported the law.

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