The White House now forecasts that the federal deficit will hit a record $482 billion in 2009, said Steve Benen in The Carpetbagger Report blog, and this from a president who “has publicly vowed to ‘solve problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations’ upwards of 400 times.” Turning a record surplus to a record deficit—in dollar terms, at least—is a “humiliating” legacy for Bush.

Well, Bush hardly did it by himself, said The New York Sun in an editorial. The deficit was shrinking until the Democrats took control of Congress, and its “power of the purse,” in 2006. Where, exactly, did the Democratic Congress think the money would come from for its economic “‘stimulus’ package,” for instance?

And the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? said Robb Mandelbaum in’s The Entrepreneurial Agenda blog. They aren’t even included in the deficit projections. Meanwhile, neither John McCain nor Barack Obama is talking about much but tax cuts. It’s “unconscionable” that Bush is putting the wars on our credit card, but “it’s just as unconscionable for Barack Obama and John McCain to continue such irresponsibility.”

A $490 billion deficit is about $1,650 per person per year, and the $10 trillion national debt works out to more than $32,000 each, said Patrick Edaburn in The Moderate Voice. Certainly “political gamesmanship” won’t make the deficit go away. We need “real leadership” to tackle this—and unpopular tax increases and spending cuts—because these numbers are too high to ignore.